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Opening the Path

to a Diverse Future
Creating gender balance
in Massachusetts life
sciences sector
A study of gender diversity
within the life sciences
sector of Massachusetts.
About Liftstream and MassBio / iii

About Liftstream

We are passionate about shaping the future way in which people work and live. It is our mission
to create a working world in which an inclusive leadership culture inspires people with diverse
perspectives, experiences, and knowledge to achieve their fullest potential in accelerating
science and technology innovation. We want people to engage in life sciences and unify
around the common purpose of transforming healthcare for current and future generations.

Our understanding of the future of leadership, organizational culture and human capital in
an evolving working world gives companies the ability to elevate their people and grow their
business. Societal and cultural progress causes people to change their generational views and
refocus their aspirations. Through analysis, we produce human capital insights to bring effective
strategies to life. We constantly challenge ourselves to look further for the diverse qualities
offered by an entire population. The uniqueness of the people we represent makes us different.
Our original thinking and intentionally creative approach brings new and exciting talent
possibilities from which to gain an advantage.

We build successful life science companies through exceptional and diverse leadership teams.
Our focus is on leadership that can create a high performing and inclusive organizational
culture capable of innovating, while developing a company that serves all its stakeholders,
most importantly patients.

For more information about Liftstream, please visit www.liftstream.com

  LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/liftstream-ltd

  Twitter: @liftstream

Liftstream Ltd
UK T: +44 (0)203 178 5864
US T: +1 617 300 0657
E: info@liftstream.com

About MassBio

MassBio is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1985, that represents and provides services
and support for the world’s leading life sciences supercluster.

MassBio is committed to advancing Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the
industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives.

Representing 975+ biotechnology companies, academic institutions, disease foundations and


other organizations involved in life sciences and healthcare, MassBio leverages its unparalleled
network of innovative companies and industry thought leaders to advance policy and promote
education while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services.

For more information about MassBio, please visit: www.massbio.org

  LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups/65240

  Twitter: @MassBio

Massachusetts Biotechnology Council


300 Technology Square, 8th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
iv / Foreword

Foreword

There is no debate about the lack of gender diversity in the life sciences
industry, and the data backs it up: women make up 10% of Boards and only
20% of leadership teams even though 50% of entry level positions are filled
by women. The legitimate debate is determining why the problem exists,
and what actions must be taken to fix it.

MassBio recognizes gender diversity is a major problem facing the industry. How can life
sciences companies continue to grow and succeed if women are not equally represented
in leadership positions?

After an exploration of existing activities and studies related to gender diversity gaps in life
sciences and beyond, along with in-depth discussion with leaders across our industry, we
determined the biggest gap toward progress is a lack of data. We posited that if we could quantify
why women are not advancing in their careers at the same rate as men, we could determine the
best actions the industry could take – both by companies and employees – to fix it.

As you will read in the following report, the reasons for the gender diversity gap are myriad,
but based on the survey responses from companies and employees, real progress is feasible if
we agree to take action together as an industry.

Over the coming months and years, MassBio will commit to leading the industry toward
actionable items for implementing change. This will include high level discussions at major
national and local events because continued dialog is critical to a broader understanding. But it
will also include more targeted activities such as networking events, mentoring programs, and
the promotion of successful initiatives led by other entities.

This report answers a lot of questions while challenging some long-standing assumptions.
We’re excited to move forward from a data collection phase to an actionable one. We hope
you’ll join us in making real change for our industry.

Abbie Celniker
Chair, MassBio Board of Directors; Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Robert Coughlin
President & CEO, MassBio
Preface / v

Preface

Several studies addressing workforce diversity in the life sciences sector have
been published, most often tackling matters which relate to the participation
of women. The positive effect diversity is seen having on a company’s
strategy, innovation, performance, risk, investment, and people, are among
the motives for such studies. Despite the resounding benefits resulting
from increasing the participation of women, the boardrooms of biotech
companies throughout the United States remain heavily dominated by men.
Data indicates that nearly half of these companies have all male boards.

From July 2016 through to September 2017, Liftstream and MassBio have been working in
partnership to undertake this study, the most extensive of its kind. The study is the first to look
at the life sciences sector within the state of Massachusetts, to evaluate the gender differences
which exist at every level of an organization. Furthermore, it expressly considers the impact
of gender difference on the workforce, and how the current workforce system is leading
to the loss of skilled and experienced women from the sector’s leadership.

This study is necessary because if we’re to tackle the current dearth of women at the top of
corporations, and reach equivalence with men, then the availability of women with skill, experience,
and motivation must also be on a par with men. For that to be achieved, we must identify the gaps,
measure them, and apply corrective remedies to ensure equality throughout a person’s career.

During a career, each of us goes through the cycle of seeking a job, fulfilling the job, and
moving on. The number of times and rapidity with which we complete this sequence is of
course specific to the individual. This report probes these individual phases and considers
explicit situations which influence each, reporting the results respectively. It looks at
individuals employed at every level in start-ups, small and medium sized companies (SMEs),
and large companies too. It comprehensively reflects the career journey, from start to end.

Conducting the research was not without difficulty. A majority of companies declined to participate in
the study and so we’re grateful to those who committed to share their data and insights. If companies
are dedicated to cultivating workplaces where people feel included, then many more will need to have
the courage of their convictions, sharing their data and experiences for the benefit of all.

More data is needed in all areas of diversity if we’re to effectively chart our progress, whether
it be on the representation of women, or on race and ethnicity, where the problem is amplified
from that seen by women. The data and insights we collected on race and ethnicity during this
study support the need for a more targeted effort which addresses the specific characteristics
of this chronic problem. Liftstream and MassBio propose to extend the diversity conversation
beyond gender into the important area of race and ethnicity.

The collection and analysis of the data from this study have given us tremendous insights into
what companies and individuals think about today’s organizations. This report shares many
of those insights and provides the evidence-base for action. We not only wanted to define the
problems but to search for answers that will lead to increasing the participation of women
in the sector. We cannot afford to leave talented people behind, or limit their opportunity,
and so we must act on the evidence presented in this report.

Karl Simpson
Founder and CEO of Liftstream
Contents
Executive Summary 1
Looking to Race and Ethnicity 5
Motivations 6

1. Introduction 8
1.1 Defining Employment Levels 10
1.2 The Human Capital Cycle 10

2. About the Research 12


2.1 Data Set Overview 13
2.2 Biotechs Employ Half of the Study Participants 15
2.3  Motivation of Study Participants – Diversity Is No Longer
a Single Gender Issue 16

3. Gender-Gap – The Baseline 17


3.1 Gender Parity Only at the Beginning of the Pipeline 18
3.2 Men and Women Equally Aspire to Join the C-Suite and the Board 19
3.3 Making a Positive Change and Helping Patients Motivate Life
Science Professionals 20
3.4  Imbalance in the Functional Participation of the Genders 21
3.5  Women and Men Both Invest in Academic Qualifications 22
3.6  Men and Women Are the Same Age Across Different Levels of the Pipeline 23
3.7  A Clear Difference Between Men and Women in Career Breaks 23
3.8  Putting It All Together 26

4. Joining 27
4.1  Companies and Individuals Misalign in the Approaches Used in Recruitment 28
4.2  Individuals’ Sentiments Towards Recruitment Factors 30
4.3  Women Motivated by the Role and Responsibilities When Joining New Companies 32
4.4  Large Companies Emphasize Recruitment Factors Less Important to Women 34
4.5  Companies Could Be Losing Nearly Half of Women Talent Due to a Lack of Diversity 35
4.6  There Is Bias Within the Recruitment Process 37
4.7 Putting It All Together 40

5. Retention 42
5.1  Women Leaders Show Different Tenures to Men at the Pre-C-Suite Level 43
5.2  Men and Women Similar in Deciding Whether to Stay Working for a Company 45
Retention Part 1 – Co-workers, Work Environment and Conditions 47
5.3  Women Managers Have a Positive Impact on Other Women’s Careers 47
5.4  Clear Differences in Preferences for Flexible Working 48
5.5  Men Seen Traveling More Than Women 49
5.6  Putting It All Together 51

Retention Part 2 – Performance Evaluation and Recognition,
Personal Development 53
5.7  Recognition and Performance Evaluation Are Not Evenly Applied 53
5.8  Performance Evaluation Process Viewed as Biased and Unfair 54
5.9  Employees Believe the Wrong People Are Being Promoted 56
5.10 Women Do ‘Put Their Hand Up’ 57
5.11  Companies Overstate Gender Equality of the Opportunities They Offer 58
5.12  Women Are Not Being Challenged Professionally Equally to Men 61
5.13  Putting It All Together 62
Retention Part 3 – Compensation and Rewards 64
5.14  Desired Financial Incentives Differ Between Genders and Employment Levels 64
5.15  Women Are Not Seeing as Many Higher-Range Pay Raises as Men 67
5.16  Women View Compensation as Less Fair 68
5.17  Putting It All Together 70
Retention Part 4 – Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion 71
5.18  Diversity Is Sought Out by Men and Women 71
5.19  Companies, Men, and Women All Share Different Views on Diversity Status 72
5.20  Men See a Disproportionate Participation of Women Throughout
All Levels of Employment 75
5.21  Diversity Programs, Metrics, and Targets Used Ineffectively or Not Adopted 76
5.22 Mentorship and Sponsorship Offered to Women Throughout 78
5.23  Improving Participation of Women in the Workforce 81
5.24  Putting It All Together 83

6. Transitioning 85
6.1  Majority of People Secured the Current Role by Transitioning to a New Company 86
6.2  Companies Are Not Doing Enough to Determine Why Women Are Leaving 88
6.3  Women at the Function Leader Level and Above Were Less Likely to Secure 
a New Role of Greater Seniority 91
6.4  Women Are Changing Companies to Scale the Ranks 92
6.5  Most Professionals Believe They Can Realize Their Ambitions in the 
Life Sciences Sector 92
6.6  Talent at Risk – Individuals Currently Unemployed 94
6.7  Most Professionals Intend to Continue Their Careers in the Life Sciences Industry 102
6.8  Putting It All Together 103

7. Concluding Remarks 105

8. Actions We Can Take 108

9. List of Recommendations 111

10. Annex 115


Annex 1. Function Level Leaders Feel the Impact 116
Annex 2. The 3N v 3Y Group – Opposite Sides of the Diversity Spectrum 121

Methodology 132

Acknowledgments 134
1 / Executive Summary

Executive Summary

The Massachusetts life sciences sector has a gender gap which grows at
every level of the talent pipeline, with men dominating the workforce from the
earliest stage of a career. The gap widens to 72% difference in participation
at the board of directors, meaning that only 1 in 10 board directors is
a woman. In this study of 70 companies, and 850 life science industry
professionals working at many more companies across Massachusetts,
men and women unanimously value working in diverse teams. Despite this,
the gap is perpetuated by a work environment in which men thrive and
women are prevented from participating equally. A multiplicity of problems
with organizational process, leadership, systems and culture were found
to lead to unfair and unequal treatment of women at every stage of the
talent pipeline, contributing directly toward the gender gap.

To reduce this gap and aspire to full gender participation and equality at every level of seniority,
will require a sustainable supply of qualified women who can become the next generation of
leaders. This study shows that the current system is limiting both the participation and progress
of women, particularly to the very highest positions. Attracting and retaining talent are also
shown to be significantly impacted by diversity and inclusion issues, thus illustrating an
important reason for companies to increase diversity.

During this research, we have seen that many companies do recognize the value of diversity and
inclusion, and many are trying very hard to do good things, yet they considerably overstate their
progress. Employees also seem to recognize the effort being made by companies but as only 9%
of women see their companies as fully inclusive, opposed to 40% of companies claiming this,
women clearly state a need for substantial progress. This study, above all others we’ve conducted,
shows the complex range of matters which must be considered, acted upon, and measured,
to get the right results. This report provides the evidence, insights and recommendations
to hasten the progress companies must make.

A Bigger Effect
Women are not dropping out of the talent pipeline at a specific stage of their career, nor
because of any single prominent factor. In fact, workplace inequality means women are subject
to many career-restricting experiences, ultimately building to a bigger effect which can cause
them to make material changes in their career, leading to the loss of talented women from the
pipeline. To use the common analogy of a ‘leaking pipeline’, we found that instead of a single
high-pressure leak, the pipeline appears to be exuding the whole distance, which points to
the possible loss of talented women at all stages.

Function Leader
The total impact of the accumulation of small effects is strongly identified in the women at
the Function Leader level, a prime source of talent for the C-suite and the next-generation of
leaders. These Function Leader women report very distinct perspectives, employer experiences,
unequal treatment, behaviors and cultural values. Their career-long exposure to a work-system
favoring men leads to a residual toxicity which peaks at Function Leader and sets-back these
Executive Summary / 2

women, further inhibiting their career growth and increasing the likelihood that their talents are
underemployed or completely lost. (See Annex 1. Function Level Leaders Feel the Impact.)

Diversity’s Talent Impact


With 46% of women possibly rejecting an employer because of having an all-male board,
all-male management, and because they were interviewed only by men, we see just how a lack
of gender diversity can impact the ability to attract talented women.

Once women are employed within a company, they report a range of career enhancing benefits
from having a woman manager. Their experiences are significantly different from those women
who report to men. Regrettably two-thirds of all employees currently report to men; in Start-ups
and SMEs the ratio is even higher.

As women progress in their careers, diversity grows in relevance, as women cite board
diversity and an inclusive organization as increasingly important factors when deciding to
join an employer and stay with them. Women also recommend diversity of the leadership team
as the most significant factor to increase the participation of women in the workplace.

Improving Process
The absence of fair and balanced process is a major contributor to the continuing gender gap in
the sector. Recruitment of new employees is too often a result of professional networks and not
a more structured and comprehensive talent search which increases the possibility for diversity.

One in four women report recruitment processes inside companies as bias. This is an area of
concern which could be actively addressed. Furthermore, half of the women in the study believe
the wrong people in their organizations are promoted, pointing towards a chronic problem in
the way internal promotion processes are conducted.

Evidence further suggests that formal performance evaluations are seen as biased and unfair
by one third of all women and that women are less likely to receive appraisals than their
male colleagues.

Carefully curated processes at each stage of the human capital cycle which are balanced and fair,
and reward capability and performance, are critical to improving diversity, as well as to creating
more inclusive cultures.

Compensating Fairly
Women are losing out on pay, with more men likely to receive a pay rise greater than 6%.
Fewer women than men also report being compensated fairly, with Large-Company employees
the least satisfied.

It is not just how much women are paid, but also what forms of remuneration they receive which
are important. There are different preferences exercised by women in terms of the blend of pay
and rewards. As both women and men move up the ranks, these preferences recalibrate.

The data suggests that a menu of compensation and benefit options would appeal to the
individual preferences of both men and women, and providing these are fair and equal,
would have more demonstrable effects on the retention of women in the pipeline.
3 / Executive Summary

Recognizing the Individual


Although there are similarities in the way women and men rank many of the studied factors
when deciding on joining or staying with a company, there are some vital differences too.
These differences are numerous between the genders but also change or shift in priority as
people ascend the corporate ladder. It is perhaps unrealistic in the near term for companies to
tailor critical features of the human capital cycle towards every individual’s preferences, but if
companies are committed to creating diverse and fully inclusive workplaces in which women
are equally participating, they will have to try. After all, personalized approaches to relationships
are ubiquitous, and exist even in medicine.

Individual perspectives differ even on the topic of diversity. Women respondents expressed
a range of views about gender diversity which clearly occupy a spectrum: some are staunchly
opposed to any lack of diversity, while others are less likely to see a lack of diversity as
a fundamental problem. This again underlines the inherent complexity of introducing universal
or system-wide approaches hoping to solve the problem. (See Annex 2. The 3N vs 3Y Group
– Opposite Ends of the Diversity Spectrum.)

Supporting Careers
Women need to be recognized for their performance and promoted equal to men, while
currently they are not. Otherwise a woman is aware, from a very early stage, of the disadvantages
she faces and this heightens her sense of bias and inequality. Likewise, women need to feel they
are being given equal opportunities and with nearly half of mid-level women reporting having
fewer opportunities than men, they rightly feel under-supported in their careers.

Mentorship and sponsorship are reported to have significant benefits to a woman’s career.


However, access to these types of programs are significantly reduced at the critical mid-career
stages where women are forging their leadership experience and taking important long-term
career decisions affecting their future contribution to the industry.

At all career levels, flexible working was consistently stated as important to women, perhaps
indicating that childcare responsibilities are replaced by caring for parents. Companies that are
serious about increasing the participation of women must recognize the consistent requirement
for flexible working.

Changing Culture
We know that the culture of companies has to change when less than one in ten women report
their employer as having a fully inclusive culture. Additionally, the third most popular reason
why women are leaving their company is because of feeling misaligned with the culture. The
profundity of such findings is amplified by the fact that not a single company believed that
an absence of inclusive culture is contributing to women leaving them.

This over-confidence, or incognizance, is shown in a series of data visualizations highlighting


misalignment between companies and employees, more starkly with women, on issues relating
to organizational culture.

The fact that so many women perceive bias, unfairness and inequality in so many facets
of a company’s operations, is a reason to believe that the culture of these companies is not
engendering a sense of belonging in women. Boards and executive management must
show greater leadership in setting the right culture for their companies.
Executive Summary / 4

Career Strategies
Contrary to common belief, women are ‘putting their hands up’ for opportunity and show no
deficiency in their ambition or motivation to become a board director or C-suite executive.
What is clear is that responsibility for a person’s career primarily sits with them, and men seem
to be exhibiting tactics and behaviors which are winning. Whether these are in fact responses
to a system largely designed by men, or somehow, they’re influencing the system, or both,
is unclear. If women want to maximize their success in the near term, they have to compete
through applying winning strategies.

The aim of our research was to test a hypothesis that the system which people encounter
as they repeatedly travel through the human capital cycle over their careers causes women
to be disadvantaged relative to men. Our intention was not to issue career advice. However,
the insights generated by the research can richly inform a career plan, and improve winning
strategies for women.

In truth, tackling the lack of gender diversity and significantly closing the gender gap, will in fact
require the efforts of both companies and individuals. It is the companies who need to conduct
a thorough review of their current approaches to see where they are deficient. It is individuals
who will provide many of those answers if companies are prepared to consult them.

We took on this research to answer the question: Why are talented women being lost
form the leadership pipeline?

The answer is that the system is broken. Despite men and women entering the workforce with
broadly the same profiles, and no apparent advantage over the other in terms of education or
experience, the system immediately begins to tilt in favor towards men. This effect repeatedly
and progressively impacts women as they progress their careers, exposing them more and more
to inequalities within the system. This is why women are being lost from the leadership pipeline,
and individuals, companies, and the sector as a whole, have it in their best interests to fix it.
5 / Looking to Race and Ethnicity

Looking to Race and Ethnicity

The emphasis this report places on gender diversity in no way lessens


the importance of other diversities. In fact, this report highlights just how
important a fully inclusive culture is and why companies must create
workplaces where every person feels they belong.

Talented women are available to serve at every level of a company, in any function, and for
this reason gender diversity remains the common arrowhead to target this required cultural
transformation. However, there is a significant issue of people from many racial and ethnic
groups being under-represented in the life sciences sector. Although data is not needed to prove
a problem which is visible to all, the unpublished data we collected during this study certainly
confirms this.

Whilst this report has not addressed intersectionality, there are recognized commonalities
that exist between the matters which feature in the gender diversity discussion and those which
surround race and ethnicity, perhaps the most prominent among them is creating inclusive
cultures. In this sense, there is much to gain from the experiences, lessons and practice of
increasing the participation of women.

We have seen a pattern of amplification among those women who represent minority race
and ethnicities in our study. They observe greater levels of bias, feel unfairness more acutely,
and express cultural misalignment more readily. This amplified effect means that, in the
workplace, there is a greater impact felt by being a minority within a minority.

Extending this type of understanding will enable us to tackle the chronic problem of a lack
of racial and ethnic diversity in the life sciences sector, and therefore will require deep and
meaningful dialogue. It requires a conversation that solicits input from a broad cross-section
of individuals, and industry leaders who must start to engage in this necessary discussion.

Conversation alone is not enough of course, there needs to be greater action too. MassBio
is committed to bringing forward a program of change initiatives which identify and target
specific ways to increase the racial and ethnic representation across the sector.
Motivations / 6

Motivations

Recognizing the importance of gender diversity in securing the future global


competitiveness of the Massachusetts cluster, this report acts to support and
reinforce the MassBio Gender Diversity Initiative and Liftstream’s continued
effort to translate diversity advocacy into improved business performance.
MassBio’s initiative (launched in 2016) aims to improve gender diversity within
the industry and grow women’s participation on corporate boards, executive
leadership teams, and throughout the companies in the region.

To accomplish this goal, a deep understanding of the explicit causes, as well as more subtle
influences, which cause the sparsity of gender diversity in the upper ranks of our industry is
required. Therefore, we placed the focus on researching specific data which could substantively
build this picture, while also exploring the sentiments which influence the decision making of
employees and companies from the life sciences industry. In this approach, we expected to be
able to diagnose causes, rather than just restate the problem. Through this diagnostic approach,
industry stakeholders would be able to seek out intentional and tailored solutions to improve
diversity practices within their organizations.

Whilst this report focuses on Massachusetts, which may currently be viewed as the world’s
leading biotechnology cluster, we believe that the findings and data set presented here are
reflective of other leading clusters around the USA and the world. Most bioscience-clusters
exhibit similar characteristics and Massachusetts has the template that many seek to emulate.
It is therefore expected that Massachusetts’ leadership position in diversity research will provide
translatable recommendations for the global bioscience ecosystem allowing leaders across other
clusters to effect positive changes within their organizations and join MassBio in the effort
to bring inclusive culture to our sector.

Why Are Talented Women Being Lost from


the Leadership Pipeline?

This was the main question MassBio and Liftstream sought to answer by establishing
a partnership of complementary capabilities: MassBio bringing unfettered access
to the Massachusetts life sciences community, and Liftstream, a decade of collecting
insights into the issues of diversity and inclusion within the global life sciences sector.

This central question ‘why are talented women being lost from the leadership pipeline?’
derives from the alarmingly low levels of participation by women in the boardrooms and
the executive committees of biotechnology and life science companies. Research previously
published by Liftstream1,2,3 has shown that women currently make up just 10% of the board
director population and that around half of the companies still have all-male boards. At the
leadership level, women consist of ~20% of the management teams in Europe and the USA,
although just 7% of biotech CEOs are women and only 2% of Chairpersons are women.
These numbers are representative of both public and private biotech companies in Europe

1 French A., Simpson K. Diversifying the Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership (Liftstream, London, 2014)

2 Cai. A, Simpson K. Board and CEO Compensation and Governance – San Diego Biotech (Liftstream, London, 2015)

3 Patel R., Stasiak L. & Simpson K. A Public Reality for Women in Biotech Boardrooms (Liftstream, London, 2017)
7 / Motivations

and the USA. Furthermore, the change is slow and, as we have predicted, at the current rate
we may have to wait until 2036 to reach 30% of women on the boards, and until 2056 to reach
gender parity.

It is vital that senior management and the C-suite continues to see consistently higher levels of
women participating, otherwise, changing the boardroom gender balance will prove incredibly
difficult to achieve or sustain. If the above-mentioned statistics of women at the board and
leadership level are to change, then the industry must modify many aspects of its human
capital management.

This research study primarily aims to tackle this problem by advancing our understanding of
why these numbers are so poor. In contrast to previous research, it does not attempt to give
a statistical snapshot of the participation of women in the sector, but to examine the drivers of
human capital that produce the outcomes, seeking to diagnose the problem areas. In doing so,
we will, for the first time, provide companies across the sector with data that points towards
specific actionable solutions to address the gender gap.
1
INTRODUCTION

#PathToDiversity
9 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

1. Introduction

The topic of diversity is one of great breadth


encompassing many inherent complexities that
extend beyond the corporate perimeter into societal
factors. Therefore, corporations must accept their
responsibility for looking at the issue of diversity
and inclusion, not only from the perspective of
business advantages and performance but also
work environment and culture, in order to be
capable of attracting, retaining and developing
the very best human capital accessible to them.

Today, gender remains the most prominent of the diversity conversations because of
the proportional representation of both genders in our society. However, in business,
we do not see the same relative gender representation reflected in the corporate ranks,
with the participation of women diminishing as you progressively scale the senior COMPANIES ARE
levels. This suggests that companies are either leaving talent behind or keeping it out,
LEAVING TALENT
either of which is a failure in leadership and a dereliction of responsibility on the part
BEHIND OR
of boards and executive managers as custodians of the companies.
KEEPING IT OUT,
Most companies are well-intentioned, and hold their employees in high regard, EITHER OF WHICH IS A
exhibiting no purposeful or conscious exclusion. Yet, there remains what many FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP
consider a somewhat inexplicable absence of women in senior positions across
the bioscience sector.

Undoubtedly, much of what prevents the inclusion of women in senior office


is attributable to the companies’ approaches to recruitment and retention, but
individuals too must seek to participate in every way necessary to reach these positions
of leadership. Because of this mutual responsibility, we designed a study which collates
data and responses from both stakeholders. We expressly focused on three types of
individual responses: 1) people currently employed in the sector 2) people currently
unemployed in the sector 3) people who had left to join other sectors. Furthermore,
we solicited responses from companies in the sector who were in Massachusetts.

All the data we collected for the entire study was done so within the state of
Massachusetts and was intentionally designed to inform us about the human
capital cycle: recruitment, retention, and transitioning along the entire talent
pipeline continuum.

The collection of data and insights, gathered from both individuals and
companies representing a full cross-section of the industry, provides an opportunity
to look intimately at their perspectives and explore the areas where alignment
or misalignment exists, thereby providing immediate actionable areas to address.
Introduction / 10

1.1 Defining Employment Levels

The talent pipeline is made up of many people who have progressively made their
way through the levels of seniority to ultimately serve at the top of companies. Given
the way that job titles and grading systems vary from organization to organization,
we set up a clear set of criteria for different levels of professional responsibility so
that effective categorization could occur. These were as follows:

• Contributor: An individual performing technical or operational


responsibilities independent of supervisory responsibilities.

• Manager (AD, SM, Manager): A person with team leadership


responsibilities (line or matrix) who is responsible for directing
the team towards strategic corporate objectives.

• Mid-Level Manager (VP/SD/Director): A person with


considerable experience overseeing teams of different size,
scope, and scale, within the line and/or matrix of a function.

• Function Leader (SVP/VP): A person with responsibilities for


managing a business unit and/or function, and delivering results
through the purposeful and successful direction of human capital.

• C-Level: CEO, Officers, Presidents and Executive Committee


of the Company reporting directly to the CEO and/or the Board.

• Board Member: Executive and non-executive members


of the board.

1.2 The Human Capital Cycle

The discussion about the diversification of organizations, both in senior positions


as well as throughout the various levels of employment, is often pegged to the idea
of talent that arrives through external recruitment.

This, however, loses sight of the fact that, wherever possible, many companies are
intently focused on developing their talent from within. For the purpose of this study,
we incorporated aspects of internal and external recruitment and looked at the full
human capital lifecycle, taking a close look at the three phases of the human capital
cycle identified as recruitment/joining, retention and transitioning.

We defined these as the following:

• Joining: The joining phase of the leadership pipeline


refers to entering the life-sciences industry (from academia
or another industry), or to candidates applying or being
recruited to new companies (and thus a new internal
career pathway in that company).
11 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

• Retention: The retaining phase of the pipeline refers to what helps


to influence an individual to remain employed with their company.
Furthermore, we look at the way in which people view the internal
career path and their sentiment towards different aspects of it.

• Transitioning: The transitioning phase of the pipeline refers


to the process of individuals leaving a company or the industry.
When compared to the joining phase, this aspect focuses more
on the reasons for leaving rather than the subsequent new job
hunt or related recruitment process.

Studying the distinct phases of the human capital cycle, we aim to reveal how
procedures and cultural influences are impacting these inter-related parts of the
human capital strategy. Knowing where these parts are working positively toward
increasing diversity and inclusion, we can emphasize these approaches, as well
as seek solutions to resolve those parts which are inhibiting such progress.

Liftstream has previously published multiple studies on the gender diversity


and inclusion issues in biotech and pharma. While these previous reports focus
on the board and C-suite environment, this study is an opportunity to extend our
deep knowledge of diversity and apply it to the pipeline, which is ultimately vital
if the industry is to build up a highly diverse pipeline of next-generation leaders.
This study obtained data and opinion from over 900 participants. As such it generates
a strong body of evidence that is representative of a broad cross-section of the life
science industry and offers powerful new insights to creating intentional solutions
for a more diverse and inclusive industry.
2
ABOUT
THE RESEARCH

#PathToDiversity
13 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

2. About the Research

2.1 Data Set Overview

This study involved over 900 participants from the Massachusetts life sciences sector,
providing an excellent distribution of insight and opinions from all segments of said
sector. Participants included individuals who are currently working in the life sciences
sector (639), those who are unemployed and looking for work (64), and those who
have left the sector (20). We invited several hundred companies to participate, and
181 responded. Owing to incomplete responses or incomplete data, we eliminated
111 company responses, leaving 70 companies. Company responses were categorized
by company size: Start-ups (1–30 employees), SME (31–1000 employees), and
Large Companies (1000+ employees).

Figure i / An overview of the data sets obtained in the study of the Massachusetts
Life Sciences cluster.

WOMEN RESPONDENTS MEN RESPONDENTS

57 33
Start-up Start-up

97 70
225 SME 117 SME
Large Large
Company Company

COMPANY RESPONDENTS ETHNICITY

81
18 26 Other
Large Start-up Ethnicities
Company

61
Other
Ethnicities
335
Caucasian
26 188
SME Women Men Caucasian
About the Research / 14

Figure i / continued
Women Men
8 Board Member 12

27 C-Level 37

33 Function Leader 18

71 Mid-Level Leader 58

117 Manager 54

144 Contributor 60

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

65.3% 73.3% 74.4% 64.8% 59.2% 60.3% 21.2% 16.7% 7.4% 2.7% 12.5% 58.3%

25.9% 40.5%
12.5%
72.2%
45.5%
75%

66.7%

56.8%

29.6% 41.7%
32.8%
23.6% 25.9%
33.3%

23.3% 17.9%

11.1% 11.3% 11.1%


7.7% 9.3% 6.9%
3.3%

Start-up SME Large Company

As predicted, due to the main topic of this study and random sample selection
method used when collecting the responses, a greater number of women than men
participated. Nevertheless, uniquely for this type of research, we have managed to
engage with a large population of men working in the life sciences. When looking at
the distribution of women and men respondents by the level of seniority (Figure i),
we see a different distribution pattern of women and men participants. Women are
participating in companies in a pyramidal manner, with the greatest numbers at the
bottom and diminishing at every level towards the top. For men, the distribution is
more even throughout. This picture of distribution of talent is highly reflective of
Life Sciences companies and serves as a first piece of evidence collected within this
study which directly confirmed the issue we aimed to investigate – the gender gap.

The majority of men and women worked in Large Companies, with ~50% and
~60% respectively reported. On the other hand, more men (18%) work in Start-ups
15 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

than women (15%). Categorizing by employment level, we found that the majority
of study participants at the Contributor, Manager and Mid-Level Leader work at
Large Companies, while most of the Function Leader, C-suite, and Board members
work in SME and Start-ups.

Approximately ~80% of study participants were born in the USA, underlining that
1 in 5 individuals currently working in the Massachusetts life sciences sector are
from the foreign-born population.

2.2 Biotechs Employ Half of the


Study Participants

Unsurprisingly in the state of Massachusetts, biotechnology was the number one


sector employer of both women (50%) and men (56%) (Figure ii). Pharmaceutical
(33% women and 21% men) and consulting companies (5% women and 11% men)
were second and third top employers respectively. Similar patterns were also
illustrated by companies’ responses.

While there are some gender differences in these results, it is important to


acknowledge that this might be the result of different factors of influence, driven
from the perspective of the individual seeking out employment, or the companies
most successful in attracting talent. These factors we examine throughout this
study and the analysis shows why these results might occur.

Figure ii / Distribution of talent and companies that participated in the study.

56.4
52.9
50.1

32.7

20.5
18.6

10.5 11.4 11.4

5.3 5.8 6.4


4.3
2.6 2.7 2.7
1.3 0.5 0.3 1.3 0 0.9 1.4
0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Women (%) Men (%) Company (%)


Biotech Medical Devices Venture Capital Financial Services Hospitals

Pharma Consulting Private Equity Non-Profit Research Institutes Other


About the Research / 16

2.3 Motivation of Study Participants –


Diversity Is No Longer a Single Gender Issue

The data presented in this report has been acquired as a result of the sustained effort
of Liftstream and MassBio, but would not be possible without the voluntary help of
hundreds of individuals working in the life sciences sector in Massachusetts. The top
motivations for participating in this study are summarized in Table i. Whilst women
are motivated by a desire to affect positive change in the industry, men were driven by
curiosity around the issue of diversity and were keen to provide data to help illuminate
the issue. However, in both genders, there was a strong desire to affect positive change
within the workplace and to introduce more diverse work environments – highlighting
that diversity is no longer a single gender issue.

Table i / The most prevalent reasons given by study participants as to why they engaged
with this study.

WOMEN MEN

1. Concerns about gender diversity in the current 1. Interested in/supportive of diversity in the
work environment Life Sciences

2. Need for change and desire to improve the current 2. Desire to learn about and contribute to the
gender diversity situation MA Life Sciences sector

3. Interested in/supportive of diversity in the 3. Importance of data


Life Sciences

4. Importance of data 4. Curiosity

These responses reinforce our belief that diversity should no longer be a cause that only
benefits those from underrepresented groups, but is something that can deliver positive
change for all employees within an organization.
3
GENDER-GAP –
THE BASELINE

#PathToDiversity
Gender-Gap – The Baseline / 18

3. Gender-Gap – The Baseline

3.1 Gender Parity Only at the Beginning


of the Pipeline

Although the problem of gender imbalance within the life sciences sector and the
lack of women within the pipeline of leaders has been discussed in many thorough
publications and reviews (including those by Liftstream), in this study we first aimed
to validate the extent of the problem, specifically within the Massachusetts cluster.

The employment data provided by the wide range of companies that participated
in this study, clearly demonstrates the issue this report is addressing – the gender-gap
between men and women in the life science sector (Figure 1). At the entry level of the
pipeline, there is a gender parity where currently there is an equal number of men and
women entering the workforce. As women progress through the career ladder from
the lowest level (Contributor) to the highest level (Board Member) they gradually drop
off from the leadership pipeline. Strikingly, the data shows the most rapid loss of women
from the pipeline (nearly 20% decrease in participation of women) between Manager
and Mid-Level Leader. In further stages, the drop off continues gradually, resulting
in the loss of another ~15%, leaving the final proportion at the board level of only 14%
of women and 86% of men. Since the data presented here is based on the employment
levels within biotechs and pharma companies, as well as other companies from the
sector (see About This Research and Methodology), the statistic at the board level
is more optimistic than the previously reported ~10% within the biotechs only.4

The gender-gap is highly evident across the life sciences sector and is shown in related
studies of the industry. Here we show it to be very clearly visible in Massachusetts,
signaling the importance of understanding the root causes contributing to this
widening gender-gap throughout the talent pipeline.

Figure 1 / The gender gap as illustrated by self-reported responses from companies within the
Massachusetts Life Sciences cluster.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

71% 85.6%
68.2%
76%
oard Member 50.4% 51%

49.6% 49%

31.8% 29%
24%
14.4%
Women Men

4 French A., Simpson K. Diversifying the Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership (Liftstream, London, 2014)
19 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

3.2 Men and Women Equally Aspire


to Join the C-Suite and the Board

A common misconception when discussing the issue of a lack of women in the


leadership pipeline is a belief that women do not aspire to become leaders. We aimed
to challenge this concept. We found that overall men and women are similar in their
career plans. Both aspire to serve in the executive management and both have plans
to join a company board (Figure 2). The proportion of men and women thinking about
a position in the C-suite and board increases as individuals move through the pipeline.

Figure 2 / Individuals have similar aspirations and plans to serve in the C-suite
and company board.

I aspire to serve in an Executive Management (C-suite) position:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader

84.4%
Function Leader
60% 76.5%
52.9%
42.6%
50%
42.6%

28.7%

Women Men

I have current or future plans to join a company board:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level

88.5%
59.4% 73.5%

52.9%
35.2% 31.9%
25.9%

27.3%
19.6%
15.3%

Women Men
Gender-Gap – The Baseline / 20

3.3 Making a Positive Change and Helping


Patients Motivate Life Science Professionals

As with similar career aspirations and plans, men and women share the same
motivations for why they work in the life sciences sector (Figure 3). The top motivations
– making a positive difference, helping patients, and advancing science – all surround
the ‘higher order’ issue of improving people’s lives and affecting positive progress or SAME CORE
change. This data shows that the same core motivations unite people working in the
MOTIVATIONS
life sciences sector rather than set them apart.
UNITE PEOPLE
Having said that, motivations which ranked as lower priorities illustrate some
WORKING IN THE LIFE
interesting gender-specific differences. Nearly twice as many women as men report SCIENCES SECTOR
being motivated by sharing knowledge, while twice as many men as women are
motivated by personal financial reward and improving their future. These differences
in motivation expressed by men and women may provide a clue to understanding
which role and career pathway they choose as they imply that men are more likely
to choose positions that bring financial rewards and secure a better future.

Figure 3 / Motivations for working in the Life Sciences industry.

34.4
32 31.8 31.3

13.2
11.3
10.3
8.4 8.7

5.4 4.8
4.6
1.5 1.5
0.3 0.5

Women (%) Men (%)


Make a positive difference Personal financial reward

Helping patients Knowledge sharing and collaboration

Advancing science Other

Improving my future Building value for shareholders


21 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

3.4 Imbalance in the Functional


Participation of the Genders

As this study aims to tackle the implicit challenge of progressing women up the career
ladder to the C-suite and board, understanding the functions in which they work is
important in determining why they might not be scaling the ranks towards the top.

Within the population studied, manufacturing, a function quite often cited as being
male-dominated, proportionally had 6% men working in it, and only 2% women
(Figure 4). Men also were proportionally better represented in engineering, IT, sales,
development, finance, marketing and business development. Women, on the other
hand, were proportionally better represented in research, legal, human resources,
admin, PR, and operations. Finally, we found that 4 times as many men as women
occupied positions in the Executive Committee (8% men vs 2% women).

These subtle differences may suggest that the career pathways women are taking
are, in aggregate, less likely to guide them towards the position of CEO, therefore
closing off the most obvious path to the boardroom. If one aim is to introduce more
women into the CEO position, then their functional experience must be contributing
to this. We need to encourage women to participate in functions where they have
not traditionally done so in large numbers.

Figure 4 / Functions performed by the individuals who participated in the study.

Women Men

Research 29% 22%

Operations 14% 12%

Other 14% 10%

Business Development 9% 5%

Development 7% 11%

Marketing 3% 4%

Administrative 3% 1%

Public Relations 3% 0%

Manufacturing 2% 6%

Finance 2% 3%

Legal 2% 1%

Executive Committee 2% 8%

Human Resources 2% 1%

Sales 2% 3%

Business Intelligence 1% 2%

Engineering 1% 5%

IT 1% 4%

Customer Service 1% 0%

Product 1% 1%

Accounting 0% 0%
Gender-Gap – The Baseline / 22

3.5 Women and Men Both Invest


in Academic Qualifications

Profiling of academic accomplishment of study participants revealed that, overall,


men and women have nearly identical academic qualifications (Figure 5). This rejects
the possibility that women could be underperforming in the leadership pipeline due
to lack of education. Predictably, the occurrence of MBA degrees increases with job
seniority for both men and women (overall 17% and 13% respectively). Interestingly
though, we found that MBA qualification is more prevalent among women than men in
the top leadership positions (C-suite and Board), in fact it is the most common degree
reported by these women (C-suite 33%, Board 50%).

Figure 5 / Academic achievements of study participants.

Overall across all levels:


50.2 50.2
46.8 46.8

31.3 32.1 31.3 32.1 32.4 32.4


30.2 30.2

16.9 16.9
12.9 12.9

5.8 5.8 6.2 6.2


1.8 1.8 2.7 3.1 2.7 3.1
1.3 1.3

Women (%)
Women (%) Men (%) Men (%)

PhD Master Bachelor MBA MD JD Other


PhD PhD
Master Bachelor
Master MBA
Bachelor MD
MBA JD MD Other
JD Other
Grouped by employment level:

Women (%) Men (%)


8.3

50 37.5 25 37.5 Board Member 25 33.3 50 41.7 16.7 8.3

11.1 3.7 10.8 5.4

3.7 33.3 29.6 25.9 29.6 C-Level 40.5 29.7 37.8 21.6 2.7

3 6.1

6.1 18.2 39.4 45.5 36.4 Function Leader 44.4 27.8 44.4 16.7

2.8 2.8 1.7 3.5

5.6 16.9 31 32.4 40.9 Mid-Level Leader 31 46.6 48.3 25.9 3.5

0.9 1.9 3.7

5.1 14.5 47.9 35 32.5 Manager 24.1 31.5 46.3 18.5 11.1

0.7 4.9 3.3 1.7

6.3 57.6 29.2 24.3 Contributor 21.7 26.7 65 8.3


23 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

3.6 Men and Women Are the Same Age


Across Different Levels of the Pipeline

The data shows that there is relatively no age difference between genders across
the employment levels (Figure 6), therefore we can eliminate any assumption that
age is affecting the participation of women throughout the layers of seniority.
This data would also suggest that age-bias is not prevalent in selection methods,
contradicting comments made by some of the study participants.

It is important to note that this data shows the current age of people by level
but does not depict the age they were at the time they took up the role.

Figure 6 / The age of study participants grouped by employment level.

52 53.5
Board Member
52 54
C-Level
49 50
oard Member Function Leader
45 46.5
Mid-Level Leader
37
Manager
34.5 35
Contributor
20 30 40 50 60
Women Men

3.7 A Clear Difference Between


Men and Women in Career Breaks

Career breaks is the area that most would point to as a key difference between men
and women in the workforce. People take career breaks for a multiplicity of reasons
but the perceived wisdom suggests that career breaks would, at worst, stall career
progression, or at the very least disrupt it. This could be an important factor in
the divergent paths of men and women. Therefore, we tested this hypothesis
to see how contrasting the data would be between the genders.

Overall, having examined the number and length of career breaks of men and women
in the leadership pipeline, we found that more women (36%) than men (28%) report
having at least some career break, with women also taking longer breaks (5.8% of
women had a break longer than 5 years, compared to 2.2% of men) (Figure 7). MORE WOMEN (36%)
Segmenting the data by employment level we found that women working at the
THAN MEN (28%)
level of the Board, C-suite and Function Leader, report having more and longer
REPORT HAVING
career breaks in significantly greater proportions. This shows that senior women
have been required, or have chosen, to take career breaks more than their male
AT LEAST SOME
counterparts and that these breaks have typically been longer. CAREER BREAK
Gender-Gap – The Baseline / 24

Figure 7 / The total length of career breaks taken by study participants.

72.4

64.1

15.3
13.3
8.4
5.8 4.9 5.3
4.0
2.4 2.2 1.8

Women (%) Men (%)

+5 years 3–5 years 2–3 years 1–2 years <1 year No breaks

Women (%) Men (%)

37.5 37.5 12.5 12.5 Board Member 8.3 16.7 75

2.7
7.4 5.4 8.1

48.2 22.2 11.1 11.1 C-Level 10.8 73

6.1 5.6 5.6

6% 66.7 18.2 9.1 Function Leader 11.1 77.8

2.8 1.4 1.7 3.5


2.8

7% 67.6 18.3 7 Mid-Level Leader 6.9 15.5 72.4

1.7 3.7
2.6 3.7 3.7

6% 66.7 13.7 9.4 6 Manager 9.3 79.6

2.8 5.6
4.9

6% 62.5 15.3 9 Contributor 5 5 5 18.3 66.7


25 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Furthermore, we found that women with children are more likely to take career breaks
than men. 16% more women took career breaks than men (44% and 28% respectively)
and women with children were most prevalent in each career break category (Figure 8).
This highlights that shared parental leave has clearly not been taken by (or perhaps 16% MORE WOMEN
offered to) men in the past. Whilst this data clearly shows that the link between
TOOK CAREER BREAKS
childcare and career breaks is stronger in women than men, the evidence of lengthier
THAN MEN (44% AND
or more prevalent career breaks in women in the leadership levels of the pipeline
challenges the view that career breaks somehow limits their ability to achieve the
28% RESPECTIVELY)
more senior ranks.

Figure 8 / The link between the length of career breaks and childcare.

No breaks <1 year 1–2 years 2–3 years 3–5 years >5 years

72.2 71.7 73.6

56.3

16.7
13.9 13.8 12.6
8.9 8 8.3
5.1 4.6 5.2 3.4 4.7 3.6 5.1 5.7
2.7 3.2
0.7 0 0

Women With Children (%) Women No Children (%) Men With Children (%) Men No Children (%)
Putting It All Together / 26

3.8 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• Is there a gender gap in life sciences? • Are there any underlying factors disadvantaging
women which can lead to their loss from the pipeline?

What we found:
• A significant gender gap exists and it grows • Women are seen working in functions that are less
with seniority of position, reaching 86% men likely to have P&L responsibility or leading to the
and 14% women at board level. position of CEO.

• Men and women enter the workplace in equal • Women in the top three levels take accumulatively
numbers and show equivalence in important more and longer career breaks relative to men.
fundamental factors such as education, age,
career aspirations and motivations.

Conclusions:
• Women do not progress in the leadership pipeline • With equal proportions of men and women entering
in numbers equivalent to men. This is creating a the workplace, and with relatively equal education
significant gender gap which widens with seniority. and career motivations, the lack of progression of
women relative to men, is, seemingly attributable
to systemic effects.

Recommendations:
1. Companies and the industry must seek to address 5. In order to reduce disruption of women’s
the system failure leading to the gender gap. careers due to childcare breaks, companies
should introduce shared parental leave and
2. Companies should seek to implement balanced
advocate that men participate.
recruitment and promotion measures for all
functions, intentionally making all functions more 6. Functions with disproportionately high numbers
diverse and therefore more attractive to women of women working in them should balance these
and men. functions with more male employees.

3. Women should be counselled and sponsored to 7. Women returning to work following breaks of longer
progress their careers in functions which provide than 6 months for parental leave should be given
clear pathways to the C-suite and board. access to a range of ‘reintroduction measures’
aimed at reintegrating them into work, enhancing
4. Companies must more effectively retain all women
their skills, setting career plans, and provided
around career breaks, and routinely give support
a dedicated senior mentor.
to continue their professional engagement and
development where they so choose.
4
JOINING

#PathToDiversity
Joining / 28

4. Joining

As we set about understanding the different drivers


leading to the underrepresentation of women in
the senior ranks of the life sciences sector, as well
as understanding where in the talent pipeline these
women might be lost, it was important to think about
the stages of the human capital cycle that are inhibiting
women’s progression. Among these is the recruitment
stage, and the outcome of this stage is influenced by
the recruitment procedures of the companies. In turn,
the behaviors and views of the people being recruited
are also important.
If the industry’s goal is to see women participating equally at every level then
how they’re recruited is a key function of this. Not only would equal participation
by women throughout companies be positive for the talent pipeline, it is also vital
for women to increasingly participate at the board level. COMPANIES ARE
MOST RELIANT ON
Having established that men and women in equal proportions enter the pipeline
PROFESSIONAL
at the Contributor level at generally the same age, with similar academic education,
and aligned motivations for working in the life sciences, we now move our research
NETWORKS (46%) WHEN
to critically analyze the recruitment procedures, as well as the work environment APPOINTING PEOPLE
and cultural influences that impact recruitment of both men and women. TO THE BOARD

4.1 Companies and Individuals Misalign


in the Approaches Used in Recruitment

Firstly, it is important to understand how people are obtaining their respective jobs,
and equally, how companies are recruiting people.
COMPANIES REPORT
Considerable evidence suggests that the reason why women under-participate
HEADHUNTING AS
on boards and in senior management roles is because the methods used to appoint
THE PREFERRED
people are often devoid of the necessary rigor and process, relying instead on personal
networks and connections.5 Our research validates this notion and shows that at the
APPROACH FOR HIRING
board level, companies are most reliant on professional networks (46%) (Figure 9). C-SUITE EXECUTIVES
(42%), ALTHOUGH
Women are seemingly most reliant on their professional networks when seeking FEW MEN (11%) AND
opportunities at the C-level (59%). However, at this level, companies report WOMEN (7%) REPORT
that headhunting is the most utilized option for hiring C-suite executives (42%), HAVING SECURED THEIR
although neither men (11%) nor women (7%) report this as a major channel. C-SUITE ROLE THIS WAY

5 French A., Simpson K. Diversifying the Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership (Liftstream, London, 2014)
29 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

In fact, the proportion of women recruited to roles by headhunters (meaning talent


actively sought by companies) is lowest at C-suite level across all the pipeline.

Interestingly, at the level below (Function Leader) headhunters are being used
to a similar extent by men (28%) and women (21%), which is more in line with
the companies’ reports (18% of cases). Below this level, the use of headhunters
by companies all but disappears and is seemingly replaced by advertising.

Figure 9 / How individuals found their current job vs approaches used by the companies when
recruiting candidates at each level.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level* Board Member*

31% 47% 24% 41% 41% 22% 47% 57% 31% 48% 44% 39% 59% 42% 29% 25% 42% 46%

Professional network Social Media Other

Headhunted Recruitment agency * Other at the Board and


C-Level accounts mostly for
Advertisement Directly through the employer company founders

Overall, the use of headhunters by companies is most prevalent within the three highest
levels of positions surveyed, although their involvement could be substantially increased
in each case. Many believe the use of headhunters brings more extensive and systematic
searching, leading to increased candidate diversity. Yet, if we take the C-suite data as an CAREER PROGRESSION
example, we see a keen use of headhunters by companies but far fewer people reporting
UNDER THE CURRENT
having secured a role this way, with women reporting this approach least. What is not
SYSTEM RELIES HEAVILY
clear from this data is whether women are not being approached by headhunters or
simply not selected by them. Therefore, headhunters seemingly cannot be absolved
ON A NETWORK
of responsibility for perpetuating the gender imbalance at the top of companies, and OF CONTACTS
this data perhaps suggests their influence could be greater in redressing this imbalance.

Finally, it is important to note that across most of the employment levels, the role
of professional networks is significant among both women and men. This implies
that progression, under the current system, relies heavily upon an ability to develop
an effective network of contacts.
Joining / 30

4.2 Individuals’ Sentiments Towards


Recruitment Factors

Having asked study participants what 5 factors they value in the decision-making
process when considering joining a company, we found that there is a broad
gender equivalence in how men and women prioritize these factors, with the
top five being: pay and reward, work environment, making a difference, career
progression, and management and leadership (Figure 10, 11). Looking for signs of
gender-specific differences, we found that learning and development, flexible working
and pay equality (particularly for C-suite women) were of greater importance to
women. Men valued to a greater extent the work environment, career progression,
as well as management and leadership.

Figure 10 / Top 10 factors most valued by individuals when considering joining a company.

74.4%
Pay and Rewards
76.4%

56.2%
Work Environment
62.3%

49.7%
Making a Difference
53.8%

46.8%
Career Progression
51.3%

46.5%
Management and Leadership
55.3%

42.9%
Learning and Development
41.2%

37.9%
Flexible Working
27.1%

36.8%
Organizational Stability
37.2%

32.6%
Co-workers
38.2%

20%
Perception of Equal Pay
6.5%

Women Men
31 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 11 / Heat map of factors most valued by women and men when considering to join a company.

WOMEN Contributor Manager Mid-Level Function C-Level Board


Leader Leader Member

Pay and Rewards 80.1% 79.4% 67.7% 64.5% 52% 37.5%

Work Environment 58.8% 52% 58.5% 51.6% 48% 50%

Making a Difference 44.9% 35.3% 58.5% 74.2% 80% 62.5%

Career Progression 50% 57.8% 40% 29% 24% 25%

Management and Leadership 28.7% 44.1% 58.5% 74.2% 84% 87.5%

Learning and Development 52.2% 40.2% 44.6% 32.3% 24% 62.5%

Flexible Working 39% 46.1% 29.2% 35.5% 32% 12.5%

Organizational Stability 41.9% 44.1% 26.2% 25.8% 12% 0%

Co-workers 35.3% 32.4% 35.4% 29% 28% 25%

Perception of Equal Pay 16.2% 20.6% 21.5% 16.1% 40% 12.5%

MEN Contributor Manager Mid-Level Function C-Level Board


Leader Leader Member

Pay and Rewards 84.9% 72% 81.1% 62.5% 69.7% 63.6%

Work Environment 64.2% 60% 56.6% 81.3% 60.6% 72.7%

Making a Difference 47.2% 42% 52.8% 56.3% 84.8% 100%

Career Progression 50.9% 62% 56.6% 50% 30.3% 27.3%

Management and Leadership 30.2% 56% 60.4% 62.5% 84.8% 90.9%

Learning and Development 47.2% 44% 41.5% 37.5% 33.3% 36.4%

Flexible Working 28.3% 34% 26.4% 12.5% 21.2% 9.1%

Organizational Stability 34% 34% 49.1% 50% 24.2% 27.3%

Co-workers 41.5% 40% 26.4% 25% 54.5% 45.5%

Perception of Equal Pay 9.4% 6% 7.5% 6.3% 0% 0%

0–10 11–20 21–30 31–40 41–50 51–60 61–70 71–80 81–90 91–100

Segmenting the data by the level of employment we see how greatly the importance
of the factors varies across different employment levels. This underscores the fact that
unified recruiting approaches have limited effectiveness and could prove less effective
than more tailored approaches.

The importance of management and leadership as well as making a difference


increase consistently with seniority for men and women as people get closer to
the top. Interestingly, the importance of work environment also increases for men,
more than two-thirds of men value it at C-level and the board, while women’s
interest in work environment remains rather stable throughout.
Joining / 32

Unsurprisingly, career progression declines in importance as men and women progress


through their career. Interestingly, this is also the case for flexible working. Furthermore,
learning and development, expressed by more women than men, declines in importance
with seniority, however, it jumps again for women Board Members to its greatest value.
This perhaps indicates the significant learning opportunity that women identify from
joining a board of directors. Furthermore, pay and reward decreases in importance with
seniority, but to a greater extent in women than in men, suggesting that other aspects
of work environment take priority over compensation at top levels.

Our data suggests that women in senior positions turn their focus onto the diversity
of the board and inclusion (when analyzed for all levels together this did not make
the top 10). When studied by the level of employment, unsurprisingly, at lower levels,
women did not rank the gender diversity of the board as one of their top factors, whereas DATA SUGGESTS THAT
among women at the C-suite (24%) and the Board (50%) level this becomes an evident
SENIOR WOMEN,
factor. Similarly, inclusion reached 32% and 38% in C-suite and Board level responses
PARTICULARLY AT
respectively. In contrast, within men, gender diversity of the board showed some signs
of importance at Contributor and Manager level (6% and 2% respectively), but not at
THE C-SUITE AND
all in later stages of the career. Inclusion was valued from Contributor to C-suite level BOARD, FOCUS ON
as a somewhat constant between 4-9%. Overall, this signals that while in less senior THE DIVERSITY OF
roles women are more focused on the ‘core career priorities’, at more senior levels THE BOARD AND THE
gender diversity of the board and inclusion are influencing decisions. INCLUSIVE CULTURE OF
THE COMPANY WHEN
Analyzing these factors gives us a more definitive picture of what women JOINING A COMPANY
value overall when choosing an employer. Understanding the different factors
influencing recruitment behavior, by level and gender, provides companies an
opportunity to optimize their recruitment effectiveness and to engage the widest
possible talent pool. Greater cognizance of the individual’s preferences of men
and women in the recruitment process can pointedly target gender imbalances.

4.3 Women Motivated by the


Role and Responsibilities When
Joining New Companies

Although we asked individuals about the top factors they value when considering
joining a company, we were also conscious that these are opinion-led responses
and orient around a hypothetical scenario of joining a new company. To go beyond
the hypothetical thinking, we asked people about the actual reasons for joining AT ALL THREE MID-
their present companies.
LEVELS OF THE
PIPELINE – THE ROLE
At all three mid-levels of the pipeline – Function Leader, Mid-Level Leader, and
Manager – the role and responsibilities of the job, were the main reason why women
AND RESPONSIBILITIES
joined their companies (Figure 12). This was followed by science and technology OF THE JOB WERE
(also consistently high). Interestingly, at these three levels, culture grows in THE REASON
importance for women, but not quite so for men. WOMEN JOINED
THEIR COMPANIES
As women progress through the career pipeline, the importance of compensation
and future career development decreases. This trend is observed in both women and
men, however, for women, the value declines to zero at the top level, whereas men
continue to register them as factors. Additionally, flexible working consistently
registers as a factor for women, whereas for men above Manager level, it does not.
33 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Additionally, we found that in line with the previous data set, as women increased
in seniority the importance of the profile of the executive leadership and/or the board
grew, while men placed much less importance on this issue.

Finally, in both men and women, other reasons gained significant importance as
they reached the most senior ranks of the pipeline. At the senior levels, women
most often joined the company as founders, through acquisition or because of
location. Men most often identified founding their own company as the reason,
and secondarily reported the opportunity to help patients as a reason.

Figure 12 / Individuals’ reasons for joining their current companies.

Women (%) Men (%)


3.9 3.9 2.7 2.7 2.7

34.6 15.4 23.1 19.2 C-Level 35.1 8.1 10.8 37.8

3% 5.6 5.6

9.1 15.2 9.1 9.1 9.1 45.5 Function Leader 16.7 27.8 44.4

4.3 2.9 4.3 6.9 1.7

10 14.3 8.6 11.4 44.3 Mid-Level Leader 48.3 15.5 8.6 12.1 6.9

2.6 1.7 3.7 3.7

6 16.5 20.9 9.6 13 29.6 Manager 24.1 9.3 31.5 14.8 13

2.1 1.4 5.6 3.3

7 11.2 32.2 12.6 28 Contributor 18.3 13.3 20 28.3 10 6.7

Role and responsibilities Profile of executive leadership and/or board Science and technology

Compensation Future career development Other

Culture Flexible working (location/hours)


Joining / 34

4.4 Large Companies Emphasize


Recruitment Factors Less
Important to Women

To compare the preferences related to recruitment between women and the offerings
of the companies, we grouped women by the size of their employer and conducted
the same segmentation of the companies.

One of the most striking outcomes of this analysis is the degree to which Large
Companies misalign their recruitment offerings with women’s actual reasons for
joining these companies. Large Companies place great emphasis on the effectiveness
of attracting talent with compensation while women’s actual reason for joining the LARGE COMPANIES
companies did not reflect this. A similar misalignment seems to occur around the
PLACE GREAT EMPHASIS
provision of flexible working (Figure 13). Only meagre proportions of women report
ON THE EFFECTIVENESS
compensation and flexible working as an actual reason for joining their last employer.
OF ATTRACTING TALENT
Secondly, none of the Large Companies who participated in the study reported that WITH COMPENSATION
inclusive culture plays a part in attracting women to work for them, despite evidence WHILE WOMEN’S
that some women do consider that as a factor (especially at the C-suite – Section 4.3). ACTUAL REASON
In contrast to the Large Companies, Start-ups placed inclusive culture as the FOR JOINING THE
highest factor influencing women to join them. A Start-up, with a team of just a few COMPANIES DID NOT
employees, can create an inclusive culture more quickly and easily than a complex, REFLECT THIS
large corporation. However, the declining focus on inclusive culture as company size
increases indicates that companies do not see this as persuasive in the talent market,
despite the utilization of ‘D&I’ messaging being most prevalent among companies
of scale.

Moreover, as shown by the level of responses that indicated opportunities for


promotion, it is astonishing that none of the companies reported that career
development is important when recruiting women. This is dramatically misaligned
with factors reported by women employees of SME and Large Companies who placed COMPANIES AND
future career opportunities as the second highest reason for joining. Irrespective
WOMEN DRAMATICALLY
of the importance women place on this issue, the lack of focus on opportunities
MISALIGNED OVER
for promotion from a company perspective is sending a very negative message
to the marketplace that ‘we are not concerned about your progression’.
THE IMPORTANCE
OF FUTURE CAREER
The apparent drive to on the part of women to join companies with good science and OPPORTUNITIES
technology, as well as role and responsibilities and culture, is well identified by SMEs.
This implies that SMEs are the most aligned with the interests of women.

Across all classifications of the companies, there needs to be far greater attention
paid to the role and responsibilities, as well as career progression. These are
important factors for women and seem under-utilized in recruiting.
35 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 13 / Women’s reasons for joining their current companies vs recruitment incentives
most important to the companies in recruiting women.

Start-up SME Large Company Start-up SME Large Company

13% 6.3% 8.2% 12.5% 11.1% 20%

13.5% 14.2%
13%
4.2% 1.8% 20.8%
10%
5.6% 33.3%
7.4% 21.9% 23.7%
8.3%
20%
4.2%
14.8% 4.2% 1.4% 5.6%
7.3% 8.7% 5.6%
5.6% 2.1%
29.2%
9.3% 12.8% 16.7%
40%
5.6%
8.3%

31.5% 40.6% 29.2% 16.7% 22.2% 10%

Role and responsibilities Realistic and balanced job description

Compensation Compensation

Culture Inclusive culture

Profile of executive leadership and/or board Executive/Board profiles

Future career development Opportunities for promotion

Flexible working (location/hours) Flexible working (location hours)

Science and technology Science and technology

Other Other

4.5 Companies Could Be Losing Nearly Half


of Women Talent Due to a Lack of Diversity

It was important to assess whether a lack of diversity (as experienced by a candidate)


could deter women from applying for, or pursuing to the conclusion, a job in a life
science company. To do this, we asked women the following three questions:

• Would you join a company with an all-male board?


• Would you join a company with an all-male management team?
• Would you join a company if they had an all-male interview team?
Joining / 36

We found that where a company satisfies all these three statements, it could be losing
up to 46% of all women from the talent pool. Where a company satisfies any one
of these statements, they are losing between 28–35% of women in the talent pool
(Figure 14). A LACK OF GENDER
DIVERSITY IN A
The data shows that although gender diversity did not score high among other critical
COMPANY COULD
factors and reasons for women to join a given company, a lack of diversity on its own,
can, for some women, be a deciding factor in determining whether to work for
MEAN THAT COMPANY
a company. Therefore, companies lacking diversity are putting themselves in a IS LOSING OUT ON
disadvantaged position in the competition for talent, and effectively alter the BETWEEN 28–46%
company’s performance. OF WOMEN IN THE
TALENT POOL
Figure 14 / The potential loss of women from the recruitment
pipeline due to the lack of gender diversity at the board,
management and interviewing panel.

Talent pool

100%

Would you join an organization:

that has an all-male board?

72% 28%

Yes No

that has an all-male management board?

66.8% 33.2%
46%
Yes No loss of women
if all three
conditions
are present
where you were interviewed only by men?

64.3% 35.7%

Yes No

3Yes (would join regardless)

54%
37 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

We were also interested in whether these factors highlighted the presence of distinct
subgroups of women who responded completely differently to a lack of diversity.
Therefore, we looked at the two extremes in our study:

• Those who most oppose the lack of diversity (referred to hereafter


as 3N as they answered ‘NO’ to all 3 questions above).

• Those who least oppose the lack of diversity (referred to hereafter


as 3Y as they answered ‘YES’ to all 3 questions above).

The 3Y group of women constituted the largest group of women (205, 54%) and
was found to be distributed across all company sizes and levels. The 3N group was
smaller (72, 19%), and whilst distributed across functional levels, was found more
likely to work in Large Companies.

This exercise illustrated that even within the population of women there
are subgroups of individuals with dramatically different views. We study the
reasons for and consequences of these differences in Annex 2.

4.6 There Is Bias Within the


Recruitment Process

The presence of bias in the recruitment process is a residual problem, arguably


impossible to eradicate. To gauge the degree to which individuals identify bias in
the recruitment process, we asked them to report on the level of bias they interpret
in the recruitment processes of their employer. In collating this data, we found that ALMOST TWICE AS
almost twice as many women (25%) as men (13%) perceive the recruitment process
MANY WOMEN (25%)
to be biased (Figure 15). This view was expressed by women at every level, with
AS MEN (13%) PERCEIVE
a slight reduction at the C-suite. This reduction at the C-suite might be explained
by the responsibility these women have for the design and implementation of
THE RECRUITMENT
the recruitment procedures, or a view that their C-suite colleagues display PROCESS TO BE BIASED
no prejudicial sentiment, and so they perceive no bias.

Interestingly, although on average fewer men view the recruitment process as biased,
at the Manager and the Function Leader level, their awareness of recruitment biases
is greater than the other levels. Additionally, these levels also correspond to the
levels with most women recognizing biases in the recruitment process.
Joining / 38

Figure 15 / Views on the biases of the recruitment processes within life science companies.

I consider the recruitment process at my company to be:

87.2% 12.8%
Balanced Biased

74.6% 25.4%
Balanced Biased

Women Men

100% Board Member 100%

84.6% 15.4% C-Level 5.4% 94.6%

71.9% 28.1% Function Leader 16.7% 83.3%

75.8% 24.2% Mid-Level Leader 12.1% 87.9%

73.2% 26.8% Manager 20.4% 79.6%

73.6% 26.4% Contributor 10.2% 89.8%

Balanced Biased Biased Balanced

Women who consider the recruitment process in their company as biased:

26.6% 27.6%

14.8%

Women
Start-up SME Large Company
39 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Segmenting the data by the company size showed that the fewest numbers of women
who recognize the recruitment process as biased work in Start-ups (14.8%), while
the number nearly doubled in the SMEs (26.6%) and the Large Companies (27.7%).
THE FEWEST NUMBERS
The relatively strong performance of the Start-ups is worth noting. Various
OF WOMEN WHO
explanations might exist but the relative ‘togetherness’ of a small, tightly-knit team, as
RECOGNIZE THE
well as absence of process, could lessen the suspicion of bias. Additionally, the score may
be a consequence of the strong emphasis given to recruiting people from the ‘collective
RECRUITMENT PROCESS
network’ of existing employees. Employees are less likely to report processes of hiring AS BIASED WORK IN
as bias if they are involved in the identification and appointment of the new employee. START-UPS (14.8%)

It is clearly of concern that 1 in 4 women from SME and Large Companies report a
perceived bias in their recruitment process. The reasons for it are no doubt varied and
complex but the presence of this bias is evidently weighing on a sizeable population of
the industry’s employee base.

Furthermore, since much is made of the effective management of employee


exits (because of the impact they can have on the company’s recruitment brand
reputation) we asked the women who are currently unemployed a question about
the perceived recruitment biases in their last organization. This allowed us to see NEARLY TWO-THIRDS
how they perceived the level of bias relative to their employed peers, but also to
(61.1%) OF
see how their post-employer perception might be influencing the talent market.
UNEMPLOYED WOMEN,
We found that nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of unemployed women (Figure 16), twice as
TWICE AS MANY AS
many as those in work, judge their last company as having biased recruitment processes. THOSE IN WORK,
If people felt that they had belonged to a fair, balanced and inclusive culture, this JUDGE THEIR LAST
level of negativity would be less likely to be transmitted by past employees. COMPANY AS HAVING
BIASED RECRUITMENT
Figure 16 / Views of unemployed women on the recruitment PROCESSES
processes in their last company.

61.1%
Biased

38.9%
Balanced

This level of bias in the recruitment process is an area which companies need to give
an immediate focus. If women are going to choose to work for a company, they need
to feel that they are subject to balanced and fair assessments.
Putting It All Together / 40

4.7 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• Do the recruitment processes contribute • What do companies view as important factors
to developing a gender gap? in recruiting talent, in particular women?

• What do women hold as important factors when • Are recruitment strategies aligned with individuals’
joining a company, and how does it compare to men? needs (priorities)?

• What drives women’s decision to join a life sciences • Can a lack of gender diversity inhibit companies’
company and is it different to men? ability to recruit women?

What we found:
• Twice as many women (25%) as men (13%) perceive • As women progress in their career, an increasing
the recruitment process in their companies as biased. proportion join their companies because of the
Women judge recruitment in Large Companies inclusive culture and the diverse leadership at the
(27.7%) and SMEs (26.6%) to be most biased, and executive committee and board level, a trend not
Start-ups as least biased (14.8%). Women at every observed in men.
level of seniority supported this view in greater
proportion than men. • Focus on inclusive culture as a recruitment offering
decreases with company size. Large Companies in
• The top-ranking factors which men and women view the study did not choose to prioritize inclusive culture
as most important when joining a company show when recruiting women, while Start-up companies
a broad gender equivalence, with the top 3 being placed the inclusive culture as the most important
pay and reward, work environment and making factor when recruiting women to join them.
a difference.
• Companies in the study also did not emphasize
• Differences in support for some lower-ranking factors career development when recruiting women, as
and changes of their importance across levels of none selected ‘opportunities for promotion’. This
seniority revealed gender specific preferences. is in direct contrast with women valuing learning
and development when considering joining the
• The top two reasons why men and women company (more than men) and reporting future
joined their last companies were the role and
career development as an actual reason for
responsibilities as well as science and technology.
joining their companies.
Only meagre proportions of women report
compensation and flexible working as an actual • Men and women report a considerable use of
reason for joining their last employer. professional networks at all levels as an approach for
finding a role. Companies report using professional
• With seniority, decreasing proportions of people networks for board appointments in greatest number
join companies because of compensation,
and readily employ headhunters to recruit at the
especially in women.
three most senior levels.
• Large Companies greatly misalign their recruitment • Companies lacking gender diversity (as seen by
strategy, using compensation and flexible working
a candidate: all-male board, all-male management
to attract women (offerings mentioned rarely
team, all-male interviewing panel) deter women
as actual reasons for joining Large Companies
from joining and as a result may lose up to 46%
by women). SMEs are the most aligned with the
of the female talent pool.
interests of women.
41 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Conclusions:
• Homogenized recruitment practices, devoid of • There is significant room for the companies
variation, can have limited effect in attracting to eliminate recruitment process biases.
women to the organization, thereby contributing
to gender imbalances. • Utilization of professional networks in recruiting
is perpetuating the gender gap.
• Companies of all sizes are misaligned with the
• Failing to address gender diversity in an organization
candidate marketplace, and particularly with
could contribute to losing nearly half of all women
the women they try to recruit.
available in the talent pool.

Recommendations:
1. Companies must develop and implement new 11. To attract candidates, companies need to pay
processes and best practices which reduce bias attention to how their leadership and management is
in the recruitment process. viewed, including its diversity. The board of directors
should be diverse to more effectively recruit women.
2. Job descriptions must be drafted in a more measured
The board of directors, senior management, and
and considered way, with attention paid to language
leadership should make clear commitments to
and specified requirements, clearly setting out the
gender diversity in their organizations.
role and responsibilities as required by the job.
12. Publicly listed companies should make commitments
3. Candidate long-lists and short-lists should aspire to
to addressing gender diversity at the board, but also
be gender-balanced, with at least 30% participation
throughout the company, and in doing so write the
of the minority gender.
commitment into the board’s relevant charters as
4. Companies need to request voluntary information to achieve the full focus and energy of the board
from candidates, and employees, which help them of directors.
align with the preferences of all candidates, but in
13. All company employees, including executive
particular women and minorities.
management, involved in interviews should be given
5. Introducing more varied factors to engage women regular and advanced interview training, as well as
would increase the appeal of companies. Recruitment unconscious bias training.
messages should be tailored accordingly.
14. Interview teams drawn from company management
6. Companies should be clear about what they can and staff should be gender balanced.
offer women in areas of learning and development
15. Companies should collect diversity recruitment
opportunities, flexible working, and pay equality,
data and metrics, undertaking regular reviews to
in order to attract them.
evaluate performance relative to company goals
7. Companies will benefit in the recruitment of women if and industry peers.
they can cultivate an inclusive culture where women
16. Employee referral schemes should offer greater
feel they belong.
reward to employees who refer women to the
8. Companies should reduce their reliance on company for jobs/employment.
professional networks to recruit and pursue broader,
17. Human Resource, Talent Acquisition and
more meritocratic approaches.
external Recruitment Partners must seek to
9. Individuals need to desegregate their networks attain feedback from women who withdraw
in recognition of the dominant role played from a recruitment process.
by professional networks as a pathway to
career opportunities.

10. Where companies employ headhunters to recruit,


they should set mandatory service levels which
stipulate gender diversity requirements.
5
RETENTION

#PathToDiversity
43 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5. Retention

Human capital, in almost all companies, is the resource


with the greatest potential to deliver the company’s
success. Therefore, understanding how to maximize
the potential of every employee in the company is
of great value to any discerning leader. Constantly
bringing talent in from the external market has
significant implications that directly impact a company,
and so a well-designed and effectively implemented
human capital strategy, which focuses on the sustained
development of the workforce, is critical. A main
goal of such a strategy should be to cultivate a rich
and balanced pipeline of potential leaders capable
of taking the company forward.
Our research into companies and individuals in Massachusetts showed that for
mid-level roles (Mid-Level Leader and Function Leader), where early leadership
skills are seeded and grown, candidates are sourced, in the main, from external sources
(discussed in detail in Chapter 6 – Transitioning). This indicates that the internal THE POSITIONS
pipeline of leaders is insufficiently and inefficiently utilized. Therefore, in this section,
REPRESENTING THE
through data analysis, we aim to examine the current practices applied by life science
MID-CAREER STAGES,
companies to retain and develop talent internally. Furthermore, we’ll evaluate the
effectiveness of these practices by assessing the sentiments of individuals working in
WHERE LEADERSHIP
these companies. By doing so, we aim to improve understanding of key issues that SKILLS ARE SEEDED
lead to women dropping out of the leadership pipeline and to suggest solutions AND DEVELOPED, ARE
that companies of all sizes can employ. MAINLY FULFILLED
WITH CANDIDATES
SOURCED EXTERNALLY
5.1 Women Leaders Show Different Tenures
to Men at the Pre-C-Suite Level

Evaluating the length of time that individuals occupy their current positions
(Figure 17), we found that ~70% of study participants (both men and women) are ~70% OF STUDY
serving in their current roles for less than three years, with those serving less than
PARTICIPANTS (BOTH
one year making up half of that figure (~38%). As only ~30% of study participants
MEN AND WOMEN)
report serving in their current roles for more than three years, we can conclude that
the talent market remains highly dynamic and that most people working within the
ARE SERVING IN THEIR
sector will change jobs inside a three-year period. This highlights that companies CURRENT ROLES
have high accessibility to the talent of both genders, as well as that poor retention FOR LESS THAN
and succession planning will impair their human capital competitiveness. THREE YEARS
Retention / 44

Figure 17 / The length of time that individuals have been


holding their current positions.
39% 38.4%
34.2%
32.9%

19.2%
16.8%

9.9% 9.6%

Women Men
>5 years 3–5 years 2–3 years <1 year

Segmenting the data on the tenure of the current position by participants’


employment level (Figure 18), we found that women stay at the Function Leader
level for much longer than men (33.3% women stay longer than three years
vs 5.6% of men). Above the Function Leader level, the data shows women are
holding their C-suite level positions for less time than men.

Furthermore, we found that where women were reporting to a female manager,


they were less likely than other women at this level to stay in position longer
than three years (30% women with male manager and 22% with female manager
stayed in the position for more than three years).

Figure 18 / The length of time that individuals have been holding their current positions,
grouped by the level of employment.

Women (%) Men (%)

25 37.5 25 12.5 Board Member 66.7 8.3 8.3 16.7

25.9 37 11.1 25.9 C-Level 43.2 24.3 18.9 13.5

5.6

24.2 42.4 18.2 15.2 Function Leader 72.2 22.2

28.2 38 9.9 23.9 Mid-Level Leader 20.7 6.9 32.8 39.7

1.9

43.6 35 7.7 13.7 Manager 18.5 35.2 44.4

46.5 30.6 9.7 13.2 Contributor 10 11.7 26.7 51.7

>5 years 3–5 years 2–3 years <1 year


45 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.2 Men and Women Similar in Deciding


Whether to Stay Working for a Company

We asked study participants currently working for life science companies about the
aspects of work they value most when considering whether to remain working for
their current company. Although the same top 10 factors were chosen overall by men
and women (Figure 19), we found that the order of importance was different, revealing
gender specific priorities. Within the top 5 factors, women prioritized co-workers and
career progression, while men favored work environment and pay and rewards. Looking at
gender-specific differences, we found that women value more than men recognition
and flexible working, while men place more importance on work environment, pay
and rewards, organizational stability and making a difference.

Figure 19 / Top 10 factors most valued by individuals when continuing to work in a company.

50.3%
Co-workers
54.8%

50%
Career Progression
51.3%

49.4%
Work Environment
61.3%

47.4%
Pay and Rewards
57.8%

45.6%
Management and Leadership
45.2%

41.5%
Recognition
34.7%

40%
Learning and Development
42.7%

37.6%
Making a Difference
43.7%

36.8%
Flexible Working
24.6%

28.8%
Organizational Stability
36.2%

Women Men
Retention / 46

Figure 20 / Heat map of factors most valued by women and men when continuing to work


in a company, grouped by the level of seniority.

WOMEN Contributor Manager Mid-Level Function C-Level Board


Leader Leader Member

Co-workers 51.5% 51% 47.7% 54.8% 44% 37.5%

Career Progression 54.4% 52% 44.6% 41.9% 44% 50%

Work Environment 52.9% 45.1% 63.1% 35.5% 28% 37.5%

Pay and Rewards 50.7% 46.1% 43.1% 41.9% 52% 62.5%

Management and Leadership 37.5% 48% 53.8% 41.9% 68% 87.5%

Recognition 47.1% 40.2% 40% 35.5% 28% 37.5%

Learning and Development 39.7% 43.1% 40% 38.7% 36% 37.5%

Making a Difference 28.7% 31.4% 43.1% 58.1% 64% 50%

Flexible Working 36% 42.2% 30.8% 32.3% 40% 25%

Organizational Stability 30.1% 35.3% 20% 38.7% 12% 12.5%

MEN Contributor Manager Mid-Level Function C-Level Board


Leader Leader Member

Co-workers 66% 42% 49.1% 68.8% 51.5% 36.4%

Career Progression 56.6% 64% 56.6% 31.3% 24.2% 18.2%

Work Environment 56.6% 54% 66% 81.3% 66.7% 72.7%

Pay and Rewards 56.6% 64% 60.4% 56.3% 48.5% 45.5%

Management and Leadership 28.3% 38% 50.9% 43.8% 72.7% 72.7%

Recognition 35.8% 36% 41.5% 37.5% 21.2% 18.2%

Learning and Development 47.2% 48% 37.7% 25% 42.4% 54.5%

Making a Difference 35.8% 36% 39.6% 50% 75.8% 81.8%

Flexible Working 26.4% 34% 20.8% 6.3% 21.2% 9.1%

Organizational Stability 26.4% 40% 39.6% 43.8% 30.3% 27.3%

0–10 11–20 21–30 31–40 41–50 51–60 61–70 71–80 81–90 91–100

The heat map of factors valued when working for a company shows (Figure 20)
that management and leadership as well as making a difference grow in significance
with increasing seniority in men and women – a pattern also seen in the data set
addressing values deemed important when joining a new company. Also, similarly
to the data on joining, men place increasing importance on the work environment
as they progress through their career (top factor overall), while for women there
is a modest decrease in the importance of this factor (previously constant).

Although co-workers were ranked as a top factor overall for women and third
for men, the importance of this factor decreases with seniority. It is also the
47 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

case with pay and rewards, although ranked top overall for men, that its importance
decreases modestly with seniority, while it increases for women.

Learning and development were stable for both men and women. Career progression,
recognition, as well as flexible working (although not a top factor), did report somewhat
consistently throughout the levels among women, but not among men, where these
factors diminish in importance.

Although factors such as gender diversity of the board and inclusion were outside of
the top 10 ‘core career priorities’ obtained by the analysis of all individuals overall,
similarly with the data on joining, these factors increase in importance for women
as they progress up the career ladder, reaching 12% and 37.5% at the board level
respectively. Reports from men show an opposite trend where both board diversity
and inclusion decrease to 0% at the board level.

Retention Part 1 – Co-workers,


Work Environment and Conditions

5.3 Women Managers Have a Positive


Impact on Other Women’s Careers
AROUND TWO-THIRDS
The gender of an employee’s manager is particularly important in building a sense OF LIFE SCIENCE
of belonging and inclusion. Overall, in line with the current gender imbalance in PROFESSIONALS HAVE
the life sciences sector, we found that around two-thirds of life science professionals A MALE MANAGER
have a male manager (~60%), although more women than men have female (~60%), ALTHOUGH
managers (34.5% women vs 28.8% men). MORE WOMEN THAN
MEN HAVE FEMALE
Most women who report having a female manager work in Large Companies
MANAGERS (34.5%
(40.5%). On the other hand, women working in SMEs report in greatest
WOMEN VS 28.8% MEN)
proportion to have a male manager (~75%) (Figure 21).

Figure 21 / Gender of a manager as reported by women.

Start-up SME Large Company

3.1%
22.6% MOST WOMEN WHO
REPORT HAVING A
FEMALE MANAGER
59.6%
WORK IN LARGE
45.3% COMPANIES (40.5%)
74.2%

32.1% 22.7% 40.4%

Female Manager Male Manager N/A


Retention / 48

Further analysis of the impact of a female manager on women shows (Table 1),
in comparison to women that report having a male manager, women with a female
manager look more favorably upon the talent competitiveness of their company
and are more likely to view the recruitment process as balanced. Furthermore,
in greater proportions they identify themselves as more ambitious now than
in the past and they believe that they are in a better position to change jobs.
The women in this group: favorably view learning and development in their last
5 years, value future career developments, view their companies as more diverse,
and are more likely to view women employed at all levels evenly across the company.

Table 1 / The impact of a line manager on women’s perspectives on to their career and the
company they work in.

FACTOR WOMEN

With female With male


manager manager

View their company as very competitive in the talent market 45.7% 37.9%

View the recruitment process in their company as balanced 80.5% 70.6%

Are in a good position to secure a more senior position,


76.6% 65.6%
if they were considering changing jobs

Their learning and development has been constant 65.3% 56%

Valued future career development when joining last company 27.8% 18.3%

Viewed diversity status of their company as fully inclusive 12.2% 5.9%

In their organization, women have equal opportunities to men 77.8% 52%

View women as employed evenly throughout all levels in the company 39.2% 15.3%

The pace of their career progression has gotten faster 39.7% 31.1%

Are more ambitious now than in the past 65.6% 40.7%

5.4 Clear Differences in Preferences


for Flexible Working

Women clearly value flexible working significantly more than men (Figure 19).
Similarly, to data indicating factors considered by individuals when joining a company,
flexible working was 9th in the order of priorities evaluated when deciding to continue
working for a company, the scoring of this factor differed the most between men
and women, calling for further analysis.

Therefore, we studied individuals’ requests for flexible working in the last 5 years
and found that at all levels, flexible working requests scored higher for women
than for men (Figure 22). Additionally, we noticed that women reported a modest,
but gradual increase in requests with seniority, whereas men show a decline in
requests. This creates a clear divergence between how men and women request
flexible working from their employer as they ascend the corporate ladder.
49 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 22 / Individuals who requested flexible working in the last 5 years.

68.2% 47.6%
No Yes

52.4% 31.8%
No Yes

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

55% 56.5% 50%

46.2% 38.7%
43.3%
37.5%
35.8%
32% 32.1%

25%

18.2%
Women Men

5.5 Men Seen Traveling More Than Women

When studying the amount of annual travel made by the study participants, we found
that men’s travel commitments are greater than women’s, and it gradually increases
with seniority, especially in the range of >50% of the time (Figure 23). Women on the
other hand report to travel significantly less (starting from Mid-Level Leader level)
and to have no commitment >50% at the C-suite and Board level.

However, recognizing that travel is not always perceived negatively by employees,


we measured participant’s satisfaction with their travel commitments. There is a close
relationship between a lower volume of travel and higher satisfaction. This is evidenced
by the travel satisfaction of women relative to men. When, at the Function Leader JOB RELATED TRAVEL
level, the travel commitments of women peaks, the satisfaction drops below that
COMMITMENTS
of men (Figure 24).
INFLUENCE WOMEN’S
These findings indicate that job-related travel commitments are an important
CAREER DECISIONS AND
factor in career decision making for women, and most likely influences positions THE JOBS THEY CHOOSE
and functions that they take on. Women with greater travel commitments were more
likely to work in sales, business development, and marketing, while those that travel
less occupied positions in research, legal, human resources. If the travel commitment
preferences of professional women are steering them away from functions commonly
associated with pathways to the role of CEO or board, it would be an important finding.
Retention / 50

Figure 23 / Annual travel commitments at various employment levels.

Women (%) Men (%)

87.5 12.5 Board Member 27.3 36.4 36.4

76 24 C-Level 15.2 18.2 66.7

59.4 31.3 9.4 Function Leader 12.5 31.3 56.3

5.7

90.8 9.2 Mid-Level Leader 17 77.4

87 12 Manager 14 86

3 3.8

91 6 Contributor 96.2

>50% 25–50% <25%

Figure 24 / Individuals who are satisfied with their annual travel commitment.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

96% 100%
91% 92.3%
86%
81.3% 81.8%
85%
83% 81.1%
74.2%

54.5%
Women Men
51 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.6 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• How effectively are companies retaining and • Do differences in men’s and women’s preferences
developing women in the talent pipeline? contribute to the gender gap?

• What factors are important in retaining women in • Can the right work environment and diverse
the talent pipeline? co-workers stem the drop-off of women from
the pipeline?

What we found:
• Men and women differently rank important Leader (the feeder level for C-suite positions) for
factors which lead to their retention by an employer. more than three years, whereas only 6% of men serve
Women prioritize co-workers and career progression, this tenure.
while men prioritize work environment and pay
and rewards. • Nearly two-thirds of life science professionals working
in life science companies report having a male
• As with recruiting, men and women place manger (~60%), although more women (than men)
great importance on ‘making a difference’ and report working under the management of a women
‘management and leadership’ in their retention. (women 34.5%, men 28.8%).

• As women increase in seniority, board diversity • Large Companies ranked best in proportion of
and company-wide inclusion become increasingly women having a female manager (Large Companies
important, setting an opposite trend to men. 40.4%, Start-ups 32%, and SMEs just 25%).

• Women value flexible working significantly more • Women managed by women expressed more
than men (37% vs 25%). Flexible working is positive sentiments on multiple corporate and career-
consistently seen as an important factor among related factors, including being more ambitious and
women at all levels. Flexible working requests are confident about securing their next job.
more prevalent in women than in men (women 47%,
men 32%) and increase with seniority in women, • Women at Function Leader with a female manager
were less likely to serve in that role for more than
reversing the trends set by men.
five years.
• Women are taking longer tenures than men. One-
third of women are staying in the role of Function

Conclusions:
• Companies are insufficiently aligned with their • Flexible working is an important factor in developing
employees on what would contribute to their a successful retention strategy for women.
retention and how this differs by gender and level.
• The presence of same-gender managers for women
• Companies have high accessibility to the talent of throughout the pipeline was woefully imbalanced,
both genders, and poor retention and succession and where this was seen, considerably more positive
planning contributes to the current gender gap. career effects were identified.

• Function Leader women are either forced to, or • By placing women under the management of other
are choosing to, hold their Function Leader roles women, companies can help women to progress
for much longer than men before stepping up quicker through the leadership pipeline, and
to the C-suite. improve their work satisfaction and inclusion.
Putting It All Together / 52

Recommendations:
1. As an integral part of their retention program, 3. Companies, especially SMEs and Start-ups, should be
companies must develop more sophisticated means moving towards more diverse structures throughout
for collecting employee feedback and insight which all employment levels, ensuring presence of more
would help tailor retention strategies. female managers.

2. Companies should set up clearer C-suite


requirements and conduct frequent, structured
reviews with Function Leaders to assess their
suitability according to the criteria.
53 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Retention Part 2 – Performance


Evaluation and Recognition,
Personal Development

5.7 Recognition and Performance Evaluation


Are Not Evenly Applied

Women reported valuing performance recognition more so than men (Figure 19).
To assess this effect, we investigated further if men and women equally receive the
recognition that results in promotion. We found that at the beginning of the career
ladder men receive more performance recognition, leading to a promotion, than
women (Figure 25). This deficiency in recognition in the formative stages of
a woman’s career may cause them to be set-back in terms of their progression,
drop out of the pipeline altogether, or decide on alternative career opportunities.
Recognition of men and women seems to become more aligned at the later stages
of their career, and only at the C-suite do more women report receiving regular
recognition than men.

Figure 25 / Individuals who received a regular recognition which has resulted in a promotion.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

69.6%
63.6%
62.5%
60.8%
55.9%
54.9% 60.6%
61.3% 57.1%

50.5% 51.9%

40.6%

Women Men

One way in which recognition can be delivered is a formal evaluation.


However, our data shows that women are also less likely than men to be given
a formal evaluation. As individuals become more senior, greater proportions
of women report not being assessed by a formal evaluation process (Figure 26). AT THE BEGINNING
This divergence starts at the Mid-Level Manager, is most pronounced at the
OF THE CAREER
Function Leader level of the pipeline, and follows up until the C-suite Level.
LADDER MEN RECEIVE
When we consider the data on formal evaluations with the data on recognition
MORE PERFORMANCE
resulting in promotion, we see that there is an inverse relationship. Where men RECOGNITION, LEADING
and women report receiving formal performance evaluations in equal numbers, TO A PROMOTION,
men are receiving promotion in greater numbers than women. THAN WOMEN

With increasing seniority, formal evaluations decline from every level after
Mid-Level Manager through to the C-suite, with less women than men reporting
formal performance evaluations. The data above shows that receiving recognition
Retention / 54

leading to promotion is relatively equal between men and women at these


levels. This would imply that the current performance recognition and formal
evaluations used by companies are disadvantaging women.

Figure 26 / Individuals who received a formal performance evaluation.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level

100%

92.7% 93.6%
88.2%
94.3%
92%
89.2%

70.6%
75%
65.4%
Women Men

5.8 Performance Evaluation Process


Viewed as Biased and Unfair

We further examined those individuals who have received a formal performance


evaluation to see what they thought about the fairness and bias of the process.

We found that almost at all levels of the career ladder a greater proportion
of women view the evaluation process as biased, with this view being most
prevalent at the levels of Contributor, Manager, and Functional Leader
(Figure 27). In line with this, fewer women report they have been fairly
evaluated when compared to men. The greatest difference between men
and women is observed at the Contributor and the Function Leader level.

Figure 27 / Views on performance evaluation process biases and fairness.

How do you view the performance review / evaluation process in your company?

80.9% 19.1%
Balanced Biased

66.7% 33.3%
Balanced Biased
55 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 27 / continued

Individuals that view performance review / evaluation process as biased:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

36.6% 36%
36.5% 27.3%
25%
27.3% 20% 20%

11.8%

12%
0% 0%

Women Men

Do you believe your job performance is fairly evaluated?

19.5% 70.4%
No Yes

29.7% 80.5%
No Yes

Proportion of individuals that agree their job performance is fairly evaluated:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

96.9%
90.9%

83.3% 82.4%
79.7%
86.4%
83.3%
72.9%
76.4%
71.4%
65.7%
58.6%

Women Men
Retention / 56

5.9 Employees Believe the Wrong


People Are Being Promoted

An obvious outcome of the mistrust in the recognition and the performance


evaluation process is that a greater proportion of women, across all the employment
levels, believe that the wrong people are being promoted (Figure 28). Overall, 48% of
all women expressed that view, while men are more positive with only 29% supporting
this notion. However, as individuals progress through the career ladder, the level
of disapproval of decisions related to employee promotions decreases.

Similar to the views on the fairness of the performance evaluation, a larger proportion
of women at the Function Leader level feel the wrong people are being promoted,
indicating they may be feeling overlooked for promotions and are struggling to
break through into the C-suite.

Figure 28 / Individuals that disagree that the right people are being promoted.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

52.2%
55.8% 46.7%
41.5%

41.7% 33.3%
38.2%
28.9%
17.7%
12.5%

3.2%
0%
Women Men

Overall across all levels:

48%
Working in Life Sciences
29%

63%
Left the Life Sciences
35%

Women Men

To get a view of these processes from people who are no longer employed by life
science companies, we asked study participants who had left the life sciences sector
about their views on the correctness of people being promoted. We observed a dramatic
increase in responses from women disapproving of the statement (63%), but an only
subtle change in responses from men (35%). This strong disparity of views reflects the
different levels of dissatisfaction between men and women with this issue. This most
likely results from previous experiences regarding recognition and evaluation and
signals a potential reason why these women have chosen to leave the sector.
57 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Interestingly, also 60% of women we previously grouped into the 3N category


(women who most oppose the lack of diversity) were dissatisfied with the choices
of people promoted in their companies. This illustrates a concerning similarity
between women professionals that left the sector and the 3N women professionals.

5.10 Women Do ‘Put Their Hands Up’

Engaging in the discussion about reasons for why women do not reach senior
leadership positions, it is often stated that women do not ‘get out there’ and do
not ‘put their hands up’. We aimed to challenge this view and asked industry
professionals about their attitude to directly asking for a promotion. WOMEN REQUEST
PROMOTION MORE
In contrast to the common view, we found that women do not fall behind in direct
OFTEN THAN MEN
requests for promotion but in fact do so more often than men across all relevant
employment levels, outmatching men the most at the Function Leader level,
ACROSS ALL RELEVANT
where only 12.5% of men report to be asking for promotions (Figure 29). EMPLOYMENT LEVELS

An explanation for women making more regular promotion requests might be


tied to them looking to counteract the lack of recognition related promotion, as
well as a belief that performance evaluations are biased and the wrong people are
being promoted. Realizing that their chances of progressing up the career ladder
are lower than their male colleagues, women take matters into their own hands.
WOMEN’S DIRECT
However, we know these direct requests for promotion are not translating into the
REQUESTS FOR
greater participation of women in senior positions, so this undermines the view that
more women asking for promotion and opportunities would resolve the issue of PROMOTION ARE
low participation of women. Another plausible explanation is that men have more NOT TRANSLATING
established networks internally and externally, so they are utilizing other avenues INTO THEIR GREATER
to progress in their career, therefore not relying to the same extent on promotion PARTICIPATION IN
requests as women. SENIOR POSITIONS

This data also tells us that approximately two-thirds of men and three-fifths of women
are not asking for promotion frequently. Additionally, the difference between men
and women is only present within SMEs and Large Companies and the degree of
difference is increasing with company size. An explanation for why the majority of men
and women are not asking for promotions frequently could be that the work culture
is simply not open enough to give people confidence to ask for a promotion, although
the reality is likely to be far more nuanced.
Retention / 58

Figure 29 / Individuals who frequently ask for promotions.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader

41.9% 41.2%
37.8% 38.7%
33.3% 31.5%
28.8%

12.5%

Women Men

Start-up SME Large Company


43.3%
34.8% 33.3% 32.3% 34.6%
26.2%

Women Men

5.11 Companies Overstate Gender


Equality of the Opportunities They Offer
MORE THAN ONE-
More than one-third of women participating in the study reported having fewer THIRD OF WOMEN
opportunities than men in the company they work for, and the remaining two-thirds PARTICIPATING IN
view their opportunities as equal. Astonishingly, only one woman in the study reported THE STUDY REPORTED
having more opportunities than men (Figure 30). HAVING FEWER
OPPORTUNITIES THAN
What is similarly striking about this data is that 33% of women at the Contributor MEN IN THE COMPANY
level (where men and women work in equal proportions) already feel they have
THEY WORK FOR
fewer opportunities than men. This shows the perception of inequality is being
seeded very early.

From the Contributor level to the C-suite, women see fewer equal opportunities.
At the critical Mid-Level Leader, where management careers are truly being formed,
some 46% of women report having fewer opportunities than men.

It is only when women have reached the C-suite level that they view this situation FROM THE
slightly better, with around half as many women citing fewer opportunities than men.
CONTRIBUTOR LEVEL
The more positive view among C-suite women is perhaps explained by these women
TO THE C-SUITE,
perceiving themselves to have ‘made it’, reducing the sense that they’re disadvantaged.
This explanation is supported by data at the board level, the next step up, where
WOMEN SEE FEWER
women again see an unequal environment. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
59 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 30 / Women’s views of opportunities available to them in relation to opportunities


available to men.

In your organization, do women have:

0.3%
62.1%
Women 37.7%

More opportunities than men Equal opportunities as men Fewer opportunities than men

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

32.9% 42.6% 45.7% 39.4% 18.5% 37.5%

81.5%
66.4%
60.6% 62.5%
57.4% 54.3%

1%

The perception of unequal opportunities increases among women as companies grow


in size. Women working in Start-ups were most supportive of the view of equal
opportunities in their companies (79%) while those working in Large Companies
were least supportive (50%).

Furthermore, women view themselves as having fewer opportunities when compared


to what the companies report. Interestingly, when we asked companies to report on
the equality of opportunities, all Start-ups reported to have equal opportunities for
men and women (a notion supported by 21% fewer women), while ~10% of SMEs
and Large Companies stated that women have more opportunities than men.

Figure 31 / Opportunities for women relative to men, as viewed by


companies and women.

Start-up SME Large Company

78.9% 100% 34.7% 17.6% 43.2% 40%

70.6%
21.1%
65.3%
56.3% 50%

11.8% 0.5% 10%

More opportunities than men Fewer opportunities than men


Equal opportunities to men
Retention / 60

In assessing the impact that the exposure to inequality might have on women,
we compared survey responses of women who felt they were getting fewer
opportunities than men, with those who felt they were getting equal opportunity
(Table2). The following table illustrates the differences and gives a clear impression
of how this impact could discourage women in the pipeline, as well as highlighting
those women more susceptible to this inequality:

Table 2 / Women’s perception of inequality of opportunities is linked with other views on their
career and the company they work for.

FACTOR WOMEN

Women who Women who


viewed their viewed their
opportunities opportunities
to be fewer equal to men
than men

Would not join an organization that has an all-male management team 43% 28.2%

Would not join an organization that has an all-male board 37.1% 23.5%

Would not join an organization when interviewed only by men 44.1% 31.2%

Their company is not headquartered in Massachusetts 43.7% 29.1%

Work in global organizations 57% 44.9%

Work in company only with offices in Massachusetts 15.5% 32.5%

Have children 57.3% 46.2%

Which things would you endorse your company to improve the participation of women in the workplace?

Diversified leadership 65.7% 51.7%

Unconscious bias training 58% 47%

Flexible working 41.3% 60.7%

Proportional promotion 35% 23.9%

Gender balanced shortlisting 23.8% 8.1%

Improved childcare support 27.3% 37.2%

Strikingly, looking at the views of women most opposed to a lack of diversity (3N) –
we found that 51% of the 3N cohort report having fewer opportunities than men,
which makes them the cohort of women with the greatest level of dissatisfaction
due to unequal access to opportunity. Only 32% of women who were least opposed
to a lack of diversity (3Y group) agreed with the notion. This provides further evidence
that the deficit of opportunities can be linked to sentiment towards the lack of diversity.
This may have further impact on future career choices (joining, staying or leaving
a company) and a woman’s attitude towards gender imbalanced teams.
61 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.12 Women Are Not Being Challenged


Professionally Equally to Men

More men across the whole pipeline view their learning and development as constant
(Figure 32). Furthermore, for both genders, this sentiment rises as they progress from
contributor to the C-suite, with a slight drop for both at the Function leader level.
WOMEN ARE
When asked about the degree to which their skills/experience are being stretched, men
CLEARLY NOT
and women start from a similar point at the level of Contributor (Figure 32). However,
BEING CHALLENGED
as they transition through the respective ranks, men show a steeper incline in reporting
this factor, whereas reports from women remain largely flat throughout.
PROFESSIONALLY IN
THE SAME WAY AS MEN
This outlines that women are clearly not being challenged professionally in the same
way as men. This could be the responsibility of the companies in not offering such
stretching opportunities.

Figure 32 / Views on development opportunities, and taking roles that stretch individual’s


skills / experiences.

My learning and development opportunities have been constant:

23.2% 59.7%
Disagree Agree

40.3% 76.8%
Disagree Agree

The roles I have taken have always been a stretch for my skills / experience:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

68.8% 69.7%
72.7%
62.3% 63.2%

62.5%
59.3%
54.8% 56%
46.7%
52%
45.1%

Women Men
Putting It All Together / 62

5.13 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• Do women have equal and sufficient career • Which approaches of companies are limiting
development options to progress in the pipeline the progression of women?
and compete with men?
• What tactics do women adopt to develop
their careers?

What we found:
• Performance evaluation/review processes were asking for promotions work at the Function Leader
viewed as biased and unfair in greater proportions level (39%), where only 12.5% of men ask for
by women (women 33%, men 19%). Furthermore, promotions at this level.
fewer women report they have been fairly evaluated
(70% women, 80% men). • Large Companies have the greatest proportion of
women asking for promotions (43%), with Start-ups
• Men receive more recognition leading to (35%) and SMEs (32%).
promotion (men 14%, women 9%), especially at
early career stages. • Women report a lower level of constant learning and
development relative to men (women 60%, men 76%).
• For people progressing through the leadership • More than one-third (1/3) of women report having
pipeline, the prevalence of formal performance
fewer opportunities than men in the company they
evaluations declines through every level from
work for, with almost half (46%) of Mid-Level Leader
Mid-Level Leader to the C-Level. Proportionally,
women reporting this.
companies perform fewer of these evaluations on
women than men from Mid-Level Leader onwards. • 100% of Start-ups said they offer women equal
opportunities. It does appear that Start-up
• Half of the women in the study believe that the wrong companies (79%) seem to foster the greatest sense
people are being promoted in their companies, with
of equal opportunity among women, albeit not as
only 29% of men reporting the same.
great as they think, with Large Companies (56%)
• A greater proportion of women than men ask for the least but the most aligned with women.
promotions. The greatest proportion of women

Conclusions:
• The current processes of companies for recognizing in gender imbalances in talent development and
good performance, evaluating performance most likely contributes to slower progression of
and promoting people within the company are women leaders through the career ladder.
viewed as biased and unfair by considerable
numbers of women, and are believed to be • Women do ‘put their hands up’ and in contrast
to common misconceptions do make proactive
disadvantaging women.
efforts to accelerate their careers.
• Companies are unequally applying regular • All companies overestimated their provision
recognition leading to a promotion. This results
of equal opportunities to women.
63 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Recommendations:
1. Performance and evaluation procedures need to be 4. Companies should carefully monitor the
assessed, and where necessary changed, to bring opportunities they offer to both genders
improved levels of consistency across all employees and measure the actual level of equality.
at all levels, removing any potential for bias.
5. Companies should set out clear process by which
2. Companies should introduce objective and neutral all employees can self-nominate for promotion and
panels of diversity champions who could assess and decisions for/against promotion should be openly
review internal promotion procedures for diversity. and constructively communicated. A failsafe process
free from bias and political contention should be
3. Employees should be given explicit guidance
implemented to deal with contestable decisions.
regarding how to progress along their career path
and what each stage of development requires in
terms of experience, skills and competence.
Retention / 64

Retention Part 3 – Compensation


and Rewards

5.14 Desired Financial Incentives Differ


Between Genders and Employment Levels

Previously (section 5.2) we showed that pay and reward ranked as the second top
factor for men and fourth for women when considering continuing working for
a company and that the importance of this factor remained relatively constant
as individuals progress through the career ladder.

We asked companies whether the employee compensation within their


organization is competitive at all levels. We found that Start-ups are most confident
about the competitiveness of their compensation while Large Companies are the
least confident (Figure 33). This finding is surprising because previous data from START-UPS ARE
Large Companies seemed to suggest that their financial incentives are their
MOST CONFIDENT
most effective way of attracting women to their companies.
ABOUT THE
COMPETITIVENESS OF
Figure 33 / Companies’ views on whether the employee
THEIR COMPENSATION
compensation is competitive at all levels.

Start-up SME Large Company

14.3% 21.1% 33.3%

85.7% 78.9% 66.7%

Yes No

Even though a majority of companies offer competitive compensation,


as individuals progress through the career ladder from the contributor to the
board level, the preference for specific financial incentives is expected to vary
as life and career goals change.

Indeed, we found that the importance of the two most favorable financial incentives –
basic salary as well as stock (options and awards) – changes dramatically for men and
women, but with a different pattern (Figure 34).
65 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 34 / Type of financial incentives viewed by individuals as the most important.

63.7% 9% 17.8% 8.2% 1.4%


Women

63.1% 18.5% 8.3% 8.3% 1.9%


Men

Basic salary Benefits (pension, 401k, healthcare insurance) Long term incentive plan

Stock options and stock awards Annual performance bonus

Women (%) Men (%)


5.9

44 48 44 C-Level 26.5 64.7 2.9

5.9

9.4 21.9 68.8 Function Leader 47.1 41.2 5.9

5.8 5.5

2.9 13 10.1 68.1 Mid-Level Leader 70.9 10.9 10.9 1.8

1.8 5.9

0.9 10 23.6 63.6 Manager 72.5 7.8 11.8 2

4.3 3.6 1.8

1.4 24.6 65.9 Contributor 72.7 10.9 10.9 3.6

In our study, we did not assess the monetary level of compensation awarded
to participants, instead choosing to assess what types of compensation they viewed
as important. Both men and women consider basic salary as most important at early
and middle stages of their career. For women, this financial incentive remains most BASIC SALARY REMAINS
important for longer in their career than for men (until at the C-suite, where an
THE MOST IMPORTANT
approximate equivalence with stock options is reached 44% salary, 48% stocks) and
FINANCIAL INCENTIVE
ranks higher than men. For men, the importance of basic salary decreases at an earlier
stage of their career (post Mid-Level Leader) and declines at a greater rate falling to
FOR LONGER IN A
only 26.5% at the C-suite. Stock options and awards increase in importance for men WOMEN’S CAREER THAN
more sharply than for women, reaching an approximate equivalence with a basic salary IT DOES FOR MEN
at Function Leader and in later stages outranking the score reported by women by
nearly 20%.
Retention / 66

Whenever and wherever the gender differences in business are discussed, pay equality
is usually at the center of the conversation. What the data in this report shows is that
men and women consistently want different things throughout their careers in terms
of compensation and benefits. While pay equality is a central component of the equality
argument, attempts to unify compensation type for men and women might not have
the desired attraction and retention outcomes. Our data suggests that the menu of
compensation and benefit options offered by the companies (Figure 35) is more aligned
to preferences of men than women, especially in the range of basic salary, stock, and bonus.
Therefore, the current compensation offerings may have demonstrable
effects on the retention of women in the pipeline.

Figure 35 / Financial incentives that companies view as the most effective in compensating the
employees at each level.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

2.4% 2.5% 2.6% 7.7% 12.5% 8.8%

17.1% 2.9%
25% 5.9%
30.8% 7.5%
25.6% 2.5%
12.2%

7.5%
2.4%
5.1%
7.5% 10.3%

18% 41%
67.5% 79.4%

65.9% 57.5% 38.5% 20.5% 10%


2.9%

Basic salary Annual performance bonus

Stock options and stock awards Long term incentive plan

Benefits (pension, 401K, healthcare insurance etc.)


67 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.15 Women Are Not Seeing as Many


Higher-Range Pay Raises as Men

To expand our understanding of the pay equality in the life sciences market
and how women are receiving compensation awards relative to men, we studied
differences in their pay rise related to taking on a new position. Of course, these
pay changes can come via two principal actions: increases awarded by an existing
employer, or by changing job and employer.

We found that, overall, approximately equal proportions of men and women had
their compensation decreased, increased or unchanged. However, gender-specific
differences suggest that women are more likely to receive a pay rise in a range of 0–2%
and 2–4%, whereas men prevail in the 4–6%, 6–10%, and >10% categories (Figure 36). WHEN PROGRESSING
Remarkably, both men and women are most likely to receive a pay rise of greater than
UP THE CAREER
10% which perhaps indicates the very significant challenges of attracting and retaining
LADDER, WOMEN
talent in today’s market.
ARE LIKELY TO
Interesting disparities come to light when taking into consideration the level of SECURE SMALLER PAY
employment (Figure 36). We found that, with the exception of Contributor level, INCREASES THAN MEN
a greater proportion of men had a pay rise in the range of 6% and more. This illustrates
that when progressing through the career ladder, women are likely to secure smaller
pay increases. This clearly illustrates a gender disparity, which, when accumulated
over time, contributes to a gender pay-gap.

Figure 36 / How individuals’ compensation changed when moving to their current role.

12.6%
Unchanged
14.2%

10%
Decreased
11.7%

6.6%
Increased 0–2%
2.9%

13.1%
Increased 2–4%
6.3%

7.4%
Increased 4–6%
8.3%

15.4%
Increased 6–10%
18.5%

34.9%
Increased >10%
38.1%

Women Men
Retention / 68

Figure 36 / continued Women (%) Men (%)

8.3 8.3 29.2 C-Level 36.4 12.1 3

6.5 9.7 12.9 12.9 32.3 Function Leader 35.3 23.5 5.9 5.9

7.5 14.9 6 16.4 32.8 Mid-Level Leader 43.6 9.1 9.1 7.3 3.6

2.8 12.8 9.2 16.5 41.3 Manager 33.3 35.3 7.8 7.8

10.1 12.3 6.5 16.7 34.8 Contributor 40 12.7 12.7 7.3 7.3

Increased >10% Increased 6–10% Increased 4–6% Increased 2–4% Increased 0–2%

5.16 Women View Compensation as Less Fair

Not surprisingly, based on the findings described in the previous section, across most
levels of employment, women view compensation as less fair when compared to men.
Starting at the contributor level, fewer women view compensation as fair than men
and that proportion decreases further at the C-suite and board level (Figure 37). Men,
however, maintain a fairly consistent view on this matter throughout their careers.

The subset of women we previously defined as 3N (most opposed to a lack of diversity)


are also most negative about the fairness of compensation, with 46% believing they
were compensated unfairly, whilst only 37% of the 3Y subset agreed with that notion.
This again highlights the link between women’s professional and corporate experiences
of inequality and their view of the importance of a gender diverse work environment.

Figure 37 / Individuals’ views on the fairness of their compensation.

Do you believe you are fairly compensated?

26.2% 64.3%
No Yes

35.7% 73.8%
No Yes
69 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 37 / continued

Individuals who view they were fairly compensated:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

78.2% 79.4%
76.4%
72.7%
71%
66.7%
70.6%
63.5% 63% 64.7%
60.9%

50%
Women Men

Segmenting the data by company size (Figure 38), we found that women working
in Large Companies are the least satisfied with the fairness of the compensation
followed by women working in SME (~40% and ~30% respectively report it is unfair).
In both cases, a smaller proportion of men reported unfair pay (27.8% and 20.9%
in Large and SME companies respectively).

Figure 38 / Individuals’ views on the fairness of the


compensation grouped by company size.

Start-up SME Large Company

30.6% 32.3% 30.5% 20.9% 39.6% 27.8%

69.4% 67.7% 69.5% 79.1% 60.4% 72.2%

Women Men
Yes No Yes No

Compensation is quite often seen as a highly emotive issue that can drive people
to act decisively. People are sensitive to compensation factors based on a plethora of WOMEN ARE
reasons. However, the data reported in this study shows that overall, women are on
DISADVANTAGED IN
the wrong side of the compensation bias. Whether it be real or perceived, women are
THEIR ATTAINMENT
disadvantaged in their attainment of the level of compensation awards seen by men.
This has far-reaching implications for the sector, and for individual companies. The
OF THE LEVEL OF
level of transparency, fair process, and equality, must be addressed, if talented women COMPENSATION
are to be retained and progressed in the life sciences talent pipeline. AWARDS SEEN BY MEN
Putting It All Together / 70

5.17 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• Are companies effectively compensating women
in order to retain them in the pipeline?

What we found:
• Women view compensation as less fair than with women reporting a stronger emphasis
men (64% women and 74% men say they are towards basic salary and retaining this interest
fairly compensated). Women working in Large for longer, while men lose interest in basic salary
Companies are the least satisfied with the quicker, showing both a strong and earlier
fairness of compensation (39%). inclination for stock options and awards.

• The majority of all companies are confident that they • A menu of financial incentives offered by the
offer competitive compensation across all levels. companies is more aligned to the preferences
Start-ups are reporting that in the greatest numbers of men than women, especially in the range on
(86%) and Large Companies in the lowest (67%). This basic salary, stock, and bonus.
is despite the fact that Large Companies declared
compensation as their most potent offering to • Women are not seeing as many >6% pay raises upon
taking on a new position as men across all levels
recruit women.
except contributor (overall 56% of men and 50%
• The blend of financial incentives desired by men of women).
and women recalibrates at each level of seniority,

Conclusions:
• Women’s perception of unfair compensation and does further contribute to the sense of inequality and
unequal pay illustrates a divided talent pool with lack of recognition, perpetuating a gender gap.
women being on the wrong side of the compensation
bias. Whether or not the unequal/ unfair pay is • Although women should be paid equally to men, they
have different preferences for types of compensation.
reflected in actual company data, the perception itself
Attempts to unify compensation types for men and
women might not have the desired outcomes.

Recommendations:
1. Policies and procedures around pay need to be more should publish annual data on gender related
transparent and process must be implemented to pay as part of their annual filings.
check for unequal pay between genders. Individual
2. Companies could consider introducing
employees must be given rights to challenge unequal
a more variable menu-style option for pay
or unfair pay where evidence exists. Public companies
and rewards, meaning individual preferences
can be accommodated.
71 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Retention Part 4 – Culture,


Diversity, and Inclusion

5.18 Diversity Is Sought Out by Men


and Women

Diversity in the workplace can be framed as an issue important only to women


and minorities. We aimed to disprove this misconception and in doing so broaden
the relevance of diversity to all. To do so, we asked life science professionals about
their need for working with diverse teams. The data indicates that individuals of both ON AVERAGE, MEN
genders seek diverse teams to work in, with men, on average, showing a stronger drive
SHOW A HIGHER
to working with diversely experienced teams than women (Figure 39). The desire
INTEREST IN WORKING
to work with diverse teams increases gradually with seniority, reaching 100%
at the board level in men and women.
WITH DIVERSE TEAMS
THAN WOMEN
This finding shows that diversity in the broad context is highly important to at least
70% of all employees, supporting the idea that the majority of employees believe
diverse experience is valuable in the workplace. Therefore, companies that create
diverse and inclusive cultures will attract and retain both men and women.

When we consider this finding in the context of gender diversity, we see that although
men support the principle of diversity of experience, they are seemingly not engaging
in promoting gender diversity, even though they equally acknowledge that they will
benefit from making companies and the industry more diverse and inclusive. Men
need to be part of the conversation on diversity and must be agents of change, and so
perhaps broadening the diversity conversation would make them stronger advocates.
Retention / 72

Figure 39 / Individuals who sought out teams of diverse experience to work with.

71.8% 80.6%

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member


100% 100%
87% 90.9%
85.7% 83.9% 87.5%
77.6% 81.5%
72.4%
65.4% 64%

Women Men

5.19 Companies, Men, and Women All


Share Different Views on Diversity Status

Studying how men and women view the status of diversity and inclusion within their
organizations, we found signals of good diversity and inclusion practices – the largest
group of individuals report that their companies have successfully introduced diversity and
inclusion in some areas, with the second largest group reporting positive utilization of diversity MEN ARE MORE
and inclusion (Figure 40 A). This shows that some milestones towards diversity have
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT
been achieved in the studied companies, however, as the groups reporting these
THE CURRENT STATUS
findings comprised only 20–30% of life science professionals, this illustrates
that there is substantial work still to be done.
OF DIVERSITY THAN
WOMEN, WITH 27%
Nonetheless, we found that views on the status of diversity differ between men OF MEN VIEWING THE
and women as a greater proportion of men report positive perceptions, while women CULTURE OF THEIR
report less positive (Figure 40 A). This illustrates that men are more optimistic about ORGANIZATION AS
the current status of diversity than women, with 27% of men viewing the culture FULLY INCLUSIVE,
of their organization as fully inclusive, as opposed to only 9% of women. AS OPPOSED TO
ONLY 9% OF WOMEN
Strikingly, views of the companies are even more optimistic, with nearly 40%
reporting a fully inclusive culture. This represents a clear reality gap, as companies
are overestimating their current state of diversity, while employees clearly believe
there is still room for improvement. We also found that the majority of Start-ups
and SMEs characterize their culture as fully inclusive while Large Companies report
lesser progress – ‘diversity and inclusion introduced in some areas’ (Figure 40 B).
These views were shared by women working in respective companies.
73 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

When we consider that Large Companies are far more advanced in terms of their
deployment of D&I programs, yet are much more moderate in their assessment of
the progress they’ve made, a possible explanation for this may be attributable to their
scale and operational complexity. Thus, they find it difficult to reach and embed D&I.
Or, perhaps, the implemented programs are shown to be ineffective.

Similarly, Start-up companies seem quite well aligned with women on the fact that
they have fully-inclusive cultures, however, we know that Start-ups have not managed
to attract women to their senior ranks in proportionally high numbers.
START-UP COMPANIES
Furthermore, looking at the views on the status of diversity and inclusion expressed by
SEEM QUITE WELL
women at various employment levels we found that as women progress from
ALIGNED WITH
Contributor to Function Leader, they view the status of diversity increasingly negatively
(Figure 40 C – marked by sky blue, red, blue, yellow). The function leader level marks a
WOMEN ON THE FACT
turning point where afterward, at the C-suite level and board, more than 80% of women THAT THEY HAVE
report diversity successfully introduced in some area or better. This indicates that the FULLY-INCLUSIVE
negative perception of the status of diversity at the lower levels of employment is being CULTURES
fueled by the lack of diversity at those levels as well as the attitudes and approaches
being exhibited at the highest levels, where there seems to be a disconnect with the rest
of the company. In other words, once the struggle to the summit is over, the view looks
distinctly different. This is of considerable concern because the board and C-suite
leaders are largely responsible for driving the change agenda on diversity.

Figure 40 A / The current status of diversity and inclusion in companies in the Massachusetts
Life Sciences cluster.

9.2%
Fully inclusive culture 26.6%
39%

33.3%
Has successfully introduced diversity
22.2%
and inclusion in some areas 25.4%

19.6%
Positive utilization of diversity and inclusion 30.4%
11.9%

13.4%
Beginning to recognize diversity and inclusiveness 7.7%
11.9%

13.2%
Tries to encourage diversity and inclusiveness
6.8%
but not successfully 8.5%

7.6%
Actions do not follow words 1.9%
0%

3.6%
Not diverse or inclusive 4.3%
3.4%

Women Men Companies


Retention / 74

Figure 40 B / Women’s and company’s views on the status of diversity segmented


by company size.

Start-up (%) SME (%) Large Company (%)


1.9
4.2 4 4.8
4 7.4 9.1
6.3 7.9
8
10.6 14.3
14.6 15.8
10.6 18.2
16 14.3 Fully inclusive culture
9.1
11.7 14 Has successfully introduced diversity
9.5
22.9
and inclusion in some areas
16
Positive utilization of diversity
17.2 and inclusion
19
23.4
Beginning to recognize diversity
22.9 and inclusiveness
Tries to encourage diversity and
inclusiveness but not successfully
27.7 54.5 Actions do not follow words
38.1
29.2 52 8.5 38.1 5.1 9.1 Not diverse or inclusive

Figure 40 C / Women’s views segmented by the level of employment.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

2.9% 2.7% 5.8% 4%


5% 10% 4%
10% 7.2%
10.1% 8% 16.7%
10%
13%
11.5% 18.2%
16.7%
11.8%
20.3%
33.3%
16.7% 36%
25.2% 13.6%
14.5% 10%

20%

36.7% 26.7%
36.4% 31.9%
8.6% 7.3% 7.2% 10% 28% 50%

Fully inclusive culture Tries to encourage diversity and inclusiveness


but not successfully
Has successfully introduced diversity
and inclusion in some areas Actions do not follow words
Positive utilization of diversity and inclusion Not diverse or inclusive
Beginning to recognize diversity and inclusiveness
75 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.20 Men See a Disproportionate


Participation of Women Throughout
All Levels of Employment

For men to support gender diversity, they need to be able to identify where women
are integrated into the organizational structure to network, support, sponsor and
mentor them. To obtain insight into the presence of women and the perception
of the level where women are mostly sitting in the company, we asked participants
about where they mostly saw women working in their organizations.

We found that men are far more positive about the distribution of women within
their organizations (Figure 41) and overall around half of the men (51%) believe that
women are present evenly throughout all levels of the company – a perception clearly
not in line with the reality as we have shown in Figure 1. Less than one-quarter of HALF OF THE MEN
women expressed that view (23.5%).
(51%) BELIEVE THAT
WOMEN ARE PRESENT
Only at the C-suite do most men identify that the majority of women are employed
below them in the organizational structure. Additionally, a greater proportion of
EVENLY THROUGHOUT
women than men see that other female colleagues work at the same level as they ALL LEVELS OF
do (33%), or in levels below them (35%). This highlights both a lack of gender THE COMPANY – A
diversity awareness in men and a lack of organizational diversity. PERCEPTION CLEARLY
NOT IN LINE WITH
Furthermore, looking at the reports of women on the presence of other female THE REALITY
colleagues, we see that at the Function Leader 84% of respondents see the most women
employed below them and the fewest participants view women colleagues working
either at the same level, even throughout a level above them. The fact that the Function
Leader level ranks the lowest (aside from at the board level), raises questions as to
whether this cohort of women is lacking access to diverse work environments, or more
women to help them take the next step in their careers.

Figure 41 / Individuals’ views on where they see the most women employed in their companies.

35%
Below me
22.4%
33.3%
Same level as me
18.5%

7.7%
Above me 5.9%

23.4%
Even throughout
51.2%

0.6%
No women employed 2.0%

Women Men
Retention / 76

Figure 41 / continued Women (%) Men (%)

33.3 66.7 Board Member 63.6 36.4


Board Member

8 28 4 16 44 C-Level 51.5 3 33.3 12.1

5.9

9.7 6.5 83.9 Function Leader 47.1 47.1

1.4 1.8

16.9 18.3 63.4 Mid-Level Leader 18.2 23.6 56.4


Board Member

25.5 6.4 33.6 34.5 Manager 14.3 16.3 8.2 61.2

26.2 14.2 48.2 11.3 Contributor 8.9 28.6 14.3 48.2

Below me Same level as me Above me Even throughout No women employed

Overall, despite the differences in the perception of the presence of women within
the organization, reports from men and women show that from the Contributor level
onwards, neither see the most number of women employed above them. Before either
gender reaches Manager, they will always see more women below them, than above MEN AND WOMEN
them. This illustrates that at a very early stage men dominate the workforce.
REPORT THAT FROM
CONTRIBUTOR LEVEL
ONWARDS, NEITHER
5.21 Diversity Programs, Metrics, and SEE THE MOST
Targets Used Ineffectively or Not Adopted WOMEN EMPLOYED
ABOVE THEM
In light of the distorted view of their current diversity status held by Large Companies,
we investigated further how they manage and evaluate levels of diversity and inclusion.

Interestingly, the presence of diversity programs, targets and metrics is contrary to


the companies’ reports assessing the status of diversity (Figure 42). While Start-ups
claim to have a fully inclusive culture, the majority of them do not have any diversity
programs, metrics or targets. Large Companies are on the other end of the spectrum
and all of them reported to apply diversity and inclusion programs; they also lead
on the use of diversity metrics and targets.

In soliciting comments from companies, their most commonly reported metrics


and targets include recruitment, representation and transition metrics related to
gender and race (with Large Companies having a richer panel of metrics). Very few
companies seem to have a structured and well thought-through process that can be
measured. Only one company (a Start-up) reported a precise target of 50% of women
at all levels. This rare example demonstrates that early stage companies can and should
77 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

place diversity and inclusion as one of the priorities when building the organization,


thereby embedding these values and approaches in the company’s culture.

The irony here is that the companies most active in improving diversity
(Large Companies) are those that are viewed by women as having the least diverse
work environment. This is perhaps a consequence of scale and speaks to the issue of
how difficult culture is to maintain, or change, on such a scale. Embedding diversity
and inclusion across Large Companies is clearly proving very difficult and might
suggest the approaches being adopted are sub-optimal in their effectiveness. In the
context of Large Companies, this is counter-intuitive, because we know that diverse
teams are better at innovation, and perform better, but organization scale seems
a barrier to cultivating true diversity and inclusion.

One thing that is important to note about Large Companies is that despite the
prevalence of programs, they are only reporting metrics and targets in ~55% of cases.
This might indicate that the Large Companies are driving forward programs without
mechanisms to measure their effectiveness or assess real progress. This data suggests
that Large Companies do not really know what works in at least 44% of cases,
thus endangering the program because they are pushing employees in the wrong
directions. Even worse, the programs could be viewed as empty rhetoric.

Figure 42 / The presence of diversity and inclusion metrics/targets in the studied companies.

Does your company measure any Does your company have any
diversity metrics? diversity targets?

Start-up SME Large Company Start-up SME Large Company

84% 65% 55.6% 92% 85% 50%

16% 35% 44.4% 8% 15% 50%

Yes No Yes No
Retention / 78

5.22 Mentorship and Sponsorship


Offered to Women Inconsistently

In line with previous results, we learn from the data reported by companies
that mentorship is mostly offered within Large Companies (75%) but is rare in
Start-ups and SMEs (Figure 43). Therefore, there is a clear opportunity for smaller
companies to introduce mentorship programs for both men and women, which may THE IMPORTANCE
help improve retention in their organizations. The importance of mentorship and
OF MENTORSHIP
sponsorship of women, by both genders, is recognized as a major contributing factor
AND SPONSORSHIP
to their progression and development to senior positions of leadership. Formalizing
these programs, particularly in Start-ups and SMEs, would positively influence
OF WOMEN, BY
the progression of the women employed in these companies. BOTH GENDERS, IS
RECOGNIZED AS A
Figure 43 / The presence of formal mentoring or sponsorship MAJOR CONTRIBUTING
programs within studied companies. FACTOR TO THEIR
PROGRESSION
Start-up SME Large Company

87.5% 87% 25%

12.5% 13% 75%

Yes No

However, when we asked individuals whether they had a regular mentor /sponsor
in the last 5 years, we found something different. Although people working in Start-ups
with a mentor/sponsor still constitute the smallest group, the huge disparity reported
by companies relative to their size disappears (Figure 44). This suggests that individuals
are accessing a mentor/sponsor, albeit not through a company-led program.

Organizational design of these programs could substantially improve the mentorship/


sponsorship to benefit the individual and company, but also positively influence the
culture of the company. This is proven to lead to great benefits in developing and
retaining talent, such as: better employee engagement, closer alignment of goals and
objectives, higher levels of internal referrals of women to internal positions (by both
men and women), an enhanced employer brand, and improved succession planning.
79 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 44 / Individuals that have been mentored / sponsored


regularly in the last 5 years.

Start-up SME Large Company


45.5%
39.8% 41.5% 40.4%
37.5%

23.3%

Women Men

On average, both men and women report having mentors/sponsors in similar


proportions (with greatest differences in Start-ups), but segmenting the data by level
of employment revealed that they do not benefit from them in a similar way (Figure 45).

Men receive mentorship/sponsorship in a nearly constant, flat rate starting from the
Contributor level up to the Function Leader. Whilst greater proportion of women
have mentors at the Manager level (58%), they find that mentorship and sponsorship
gradually declines. At Function Leader level, they register the lowest value (29%) – half
of the value at the Manager level. Also, at this very critical level, just before entering
the C-suite, fewer women than men have received mentorship/sponsorship.

An interesting data point to note is that C-suite women do report a higher prevalence
of sponsors/mentors, perhaps signaling a factor which has contributed to them
reaching this position of seniority.

These findings illustrate that the mentorship and sponsorship offered to women may
need refocusing and repositioning to a Mid-Level Leader and Function Leader to offer
most benefits to those women who are directly in line to succeed or progress in the
leadership pipeline. This should be applied as well to men, as they report lacking
mentorship/sponsorship at the C-suite level.

Figure 45 / Individuals that have been mentored / sponsored regularly in the last 5 years.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

58.5%

50%
44.2% 45.8%
41.2%
37.5% 45.5%
43.1%
40.7%
34.6%
29%
24.2%
Women Men
Retention / 80

The beneficial impact of mentorship/sponsorship programs on women’s views


on their confidence, career, skills, compensation and sentiments towards their
employers is defined further by the factors set out in Table 3.

Table 3 / The effects of a regular mentorship/sponsorship on women’s perspectives about their


career and the company they work for.

FACTOR WOMEN

Women who Women who


had regular did not
mentor/sponsor have regular
mentor/sponsor

Whenever I tried, I managed to find a new job that is at a more


66.4% 54.8%
senior level

I am in a good position to secure a more senior role 79.2% 61.6%

I have current plans to join a board 38.9% 26.1%

I aspire to serve in an Executive Management (C-suite) position 52.8% 39.6%

I received regular recognition for my performance which has


60.4% 40.4%
resulted in promotions

My career has progressed quicker than my peers 58.2% 36.2%

I consider my career to be on track 84.9% 69%

My learning and development opportunities have been constant 71% 51.8%

When moving to the current role, my compensation increased >10% 39.9% 31.8%

I value gender diversity of the board when joining a company 100% 53.3%

I value mentoring/sponsoring when joining a company 41.1% 22.2%

I think I will be working in the life sciences sector 3 years from now 97.2% 90.6%

Sentiments towards the organizations women work at

I view the performance review or evaluation process in my


74.5% 60.3%
company as balanced

My job performance is evaluated fairly 75.7% 65.8%

I consider that the right people are promoted within my company 55.5% 48.7%
81 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.23 Improving Participation of Women


in the Workforce

Aiming to create recommendations for companies that, in addition to the insights


outlined through this report, would offer direct guidelines to improve the pipeline of
women leaders, we went to the best source possible and asked women about the factors
they think would increase the participation of women in the workplace. Below we show
a ranking of factors, which by no means should be considered as definitive, and a low
ranking does not reflect disapproval of the factor, it only illustrates low support.

The top actions recommended to improve participation of women overall, and


across all levels of employment (except contributor), is to improve the diversity of the
leadership team (57% of all women supported that view) (Figure 46, 47). The persistence
and preference of this view, even at the lower levels of a career ladder, emphasize THE DIVERSITY OF THE
how influential the leadership team is in affecting and projecting the culture of the
LEADERSHIP TEAM WAS
organization. Getting diversity right at the top sets the tone for the entire company.
RANKED THE TOP THING
Other factors related to increasing diversification within the company also received
FOR COMPANIES TO
a significant ranking. These included unconscious bias training (3rd place – 51%), ADDRESS TO IMPROVE
proportional promotion (defined as promoting the same proportion of women across all THE PARTICIPATION
levels of the organization) (28%), clear diversity metrics (23%). Importantly, a tool often OF WOMEN
mentioned in the discussion on the pipeline of women leaders – positive discrimination –
(reversing the practice of discrimination in favor of the discriminated), was ranked
as least favorite (2.6%), illustrating clearly that women do not want to be unfairly
favored over men and hired just because they are women.

Factors related to the working environment and work-life balance are also highly
ranked. Women endorsed flexible working (54%, 2nd place) and improved childcare
(33%, 4th place). Interestingly, reduced travel commitments were ranked second least,
implying that women are not refraining from work that requires travel.

Factors related to recruitment and promotion ranked interview training


and gender-balanced shortlisting in the middle.

Figure 46 / Actions recommended by women to be implemented by companies in order


to improve the participation of women.

Diversified leadership team 57%


Flexible working (Time/Location) 53.6%
Unconscious bias training 51.2%
Improved childcare support 33%
Proportional promotion* 28.2%
Diversity metrics which are clearly communicated 22.7%
Interview training for all employees 19.3%
Gender balanced shortlisting 13.7%
Reduced travel commitments 7.1%
Positive discrimination** 2.6%
* Proportional promotion (e.g. promoting the same proportion of women across all levels of the organization)
** Positive discrimination (a practice of favoring individuals that suffer discrimination)
Retention / 82

Figure 47 / Heatmap of actions recommended by women to be implemented by companies


in order to improve participation of women.

WOMEN Contributor Manager Mid-Level Function C-Level Board


Leader Leader Member

Diversified leadership team


47.9% 59.8% 67.6% 67.7% 63% 62.5%

Flexible working
59.7% 45.3% 52.1% 50% 51.9% 62.5%
(Time/Location)

Unconscious bias training


47.2% 51.3% 54.9% 61.8% 55.6% 62.5%

Improved childcare support


33.3% 36.8% 26.8% 20.6% 29.6% 12.5%

Proportional promotion
33.3% 31.6% 21.1% 20.6% 18.5% 12.5%

Diversity metrics which


19.4% 22.2% 28.2% 26.5% 33.3% 25%
are clearly communicated

Interview training
24.3% 15.4% 18.3% 14.7% 14.8% 12.5%
for all employees

Gender balanced shortlisting


10.4% 15.4% 14.1% 17.7% 14.8% 25%

Positive discrimination
2.8% 4.3% 0% 0% 3.7% 12.5%

0–10 11–20 21–30 31–40 41–50 51–60 61–70 71–80 81–90 91–100

Overall, these results show the need for solutions capable of permanently improving
the culture and the corporate environment in both a targeted and fair way. They show
that women are less supportive of solutions that may quickly increase their numbers
in the workforce but fail to tackle the real issues holding them back in their work
environment and from progressing in their careers.

The fact that most of the abovementioned factors remain constant throughout
the career ladder, highlights their universal importance and means that they could
be applied to increase participation of women at any level, in any organization.
83 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

5.24 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out:


• Do gender diversity, culture, and inclusive initiatives • What should companies do to improve participation
help to retain women in the leadership pipeline? of women in the workforce?

• What is the status of diversity and inclusion in life


science companies?

What we found:
• Working in teams of diverse experience is important • Men report receiving mentorship/sponsorship at
to men and women, with more men reporting this a relatively constant rate by level, while women see
(men 81%, women 72%). a gradual decline after Manager level until Function
level (29%).
• Men are more optimistic about the current status of
diversity in their companies than women, with 27% of • Large Companies led in applying diversity and
men viewing the culture of their organization as fully inclusion programs, and the use of metrics (56%)
inclusive and only 9% of women. and targets (50%). Start-ups report metrics (16%)
and targets (8%). 75% of Large Companies report
• Companies overstate their progress on introducing mentorship/sponsorship programs, overshadowing
diversity too. Nearly 40% of companies report a ‘fully
Start-ups and SMEs at just 13%.
inclusive culture’, clearly more than the individuals.

• By the time a person reaches Manager level, and • Women report considerable benefits experienced
from mentorship/sponsorship.
from that point on, they report more women working
below them than above. Despite this, 51% of men • Women believe that factors such as diversity of the
report women being present evenly through all leadership team (57% women supported this), flexible
levels of the company. working (54% and ranked 2nd), unconscious bias
training (51% and 3rd place), and improved childcare
(33% and 4th) would most improve participation.

Conclusions:
• Despite men’s interest in diverse teams, this is access is inconsistent and inadequate at many levels
not translated into actions tackling the issues of of the talent pipeline.
gender diversity.
• Companies and women are misaligned in their views
• Men have unrealistic perception of equal gender about the provision of equal opportunities to women,
participation in what we know is a workplace with companies largely overstating their commitment.
dominated by men at every level beyond Contributor.
• The disparity between efforts taken by Large
• Furthermore, men’s optimism towards the current Companies to utilize diversity programs and metrics,
status of diversity in their company indicates a level and perception of diversity status by women working
of blindness to gender imbalance on their part, which in Large Companies, indicates that these efforts might
can only result in making the process of improving be misdirected. However, it seems these companies
gender diversity harder. are aware of their diversity status.

• Women report highly positive and influential career • Women are less supportive of artificial actions such
effects from mentorship/sponsorship, however, as positive discrimination over meritocratic solutions.
Putting It All Together / 84

Recommendations:
1. Companies should publish internally, and preferably inclusion look like, what behaviors would lead to
externally, the data relating to gender representation a more inclusive culture, and what the organization
by level and function, showing progress over time. could do (which it presently isn’t) that would be
more effective in bringing about diversity and an
2. An inclusive culture must be well defined and actively
inclusive culture.
pursued by companies.
7. Company CEOs should make a clear statement of
3. Companies should actively promote mentorship and
diversity commitment which is publicly shared.
sponsorship, either as a formalized program, or more
generally. Such programs should be accompanied by 8. Company CEOs should write an annual letter to all
clear goals and metrics to assess their effectiveness. employees which clearly sets out the company’s
diversity data, charts progress against targets
4. Positions of leadership, and all relevant talent sources
and defines areas of progress and priorities.
leading to these appointments, must actively target
greater number of appointments of women at 9. Companies should discourage their employees
all levels. from participating on panel discussions at events,
conferences and symposia unless women and men
5. Companies need to better define what they mean by
are participating on the panel.
‘equal opportunities for women’ and more accurately
assess how they’re doing against this. 10. Diversity ‘Champions’ should be sought throughout
the company and in particular, men should be
6. Companies, alongside their employees, should work
engaged as agents of change.
to improve their definitions of what diversity and
6
TRANSITIONING

#PathToDiversity
Transitioning / 86

6. Transitioning

The transitioning (or exit) phase of the human capital


cycle refers to the loss of talent from the company,
either as people transfer from one company to another
within the sector, or as they move to other sectors.
If we are to understand why people, especially women,
are not progressing to senior positions within the
industry in sufficient numbers, then we must examine
the actions that contribute to the development
of their careers.

What we do know is that companies are often met with considerable costs because
of losing their talented employees. Beyond the resources needed to replace them
and train new staff, there is also a business impact while the new person reaches
the necessary operating level.

This impact on businesses is compounded where talent seeps out of the life sciences
industry towards other sectors. This talent is potentially lost forever, thereby
intensifying an already fierce war for talent.

Given the importance of both preventing and managing the exit processes, we aim
to provide data-driven insights to enhance the understanding companies and managers
have of the causes for the loss of talent from their internal pipelines, and in doing
so contribute to more effective solutions.

6.1 Majority of People Secured the Current


Role by Transitioning to a New Company

With the aim of understanding factors relating to the loss of women from the pipeline
during the transitioning phase of the human capital cycle, we first investigated whether
women and men are more likely to secure a new role by internal promotion or by
transitioning to another company. THE PROPORTION
OF BOTH MEN AND
We found that in both genders, and across all levels, greater proportion of study
WOMEN WHO CAME TO
participants transitioned from another company to take their current role (Figure 48).
The proportion of both men and women who came to their current roles from
THEIR CURRENT ROLES
a different company was the lowest at the levels of Manager and Mid-Level Leader FROM A DIFFERENT
(between 52% and 63%) and increased dramatically at the C-suite and Board COMPANY WAS THE
level (88–92%). LOWEST AT THE LEVELS
OF MANAGER AND
The fact that at no level do we see a majority finding their current roles from within MID-LEVEL LEADER
their existing employers speaks to two important observations about the function of (BETWEEN 52%
talent in the sector. Firstly, that companies are not offering most employees sufficient AND 63%)
opportunities to progress. Secondly, the sector is perhaps so competitive for talent
that the majority are moving relatively freely between companies.
87 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Segmenting the data by company size revealed that the proportion of individuals
who secured their role in the current company by moving from another company
was the greatest in Start-ups (above 90%) and the lowest in Large Companies (~58%
for both men and women). This shows that Start-ups are building their talent pool
through external resources. Clearly, larger companies are better at internal succession
planning and moving the talent up through the levels of the leadership pipeline.
Of course, Start-up companies are often limited in their scope for such activities,
whereas SMEs might be more able to apply this approach.

Figure 48 / Individuals who changed companies to take on their current roles.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

92.6% 91.9% 91.7%


87.5%
78.3%
72.2%
69.4% 66.7%
63.3% 63.4%
60.3%
51.9%

Women Men

Start-up SME Large Company


94.5%
90.9%
81.4%
74.2%

57.9% 58.6%

Women Men
Transitioning / 88

6.2 Companies Are Not Doing Enough


to Determine Why Women Are Leaving

We wanted to assess whether companies participating in the study were aware


of the reasons women drop out from the leadership pipeline in their organizations.
Our study revealed a startling statistic that nearly half of the companies (49%)
were unsure why women leave their companies (Figure 49).

When we grouped the data by company size, we found that Start-ups made the
largest proportion of companies unsure of why women are leaving their organizations,
with an astonishing 59% of all Start-ups reporting this. The proportion of companies
unsure why women are leaving decreased with size. This suggests that the benefits
generally associated with the small size of most Start-ups – such as transparency,
inclusion, and direct collaboration of employees from different function levels – does
not translate into better understanding of issues resulting to loss of talent. Conversely,
larger companies with more sophisticated human resource practices seemingly
have better detection methods for ascertaining the reasons.

Figure 49 / Companies’ views on why women employees leave their organizations.

Start-up SME Large Company


48.9%
9.1% 5.9% 12.5%

23.4% 5.9%

13.6% 11.8%
10.6%
4.5% 25%

8.5% 13.6%

35.3%

6.4%
25%

2.1%

Unknown

Lack of opportunities for career development

Concern over the company’s prospects

Family commitments

Compensation 59.1% 41.2% 37.5%

Unsatisfactory leadership

Working pattern

Absence of inclusive culture


89 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

The top two reasons reported by the companies as to why women left their
organizations were a lack of opportunity for career development and concern over the
company’s prospects (23% and 11% respectively). Interestingly, SMEs reported in
the greatest proportion that lack of opportunities for career development is the reason
why women leave their organization, even though previously they reported that
they offer more opportunities to women than men.

Furthermore, the proportion of companies which report that women leave because
of concerns about the company’s future was greatest in the cohort of Large Companies and
the smallest in the cohort of Start-ups. Whilst Large Companies face many challenges,
they are normally perceived relatively more stable than Start-ups (which are often viewed NO COMPANY
as more exciting but risky). This introduces a question as to whether companies either
REPORTED THAT
truly understand why women are leaving them, and to what extent different business
AN ABSENCE OF
and cultural influences are driving these decisions to leave.
INCLUSIVE CULTURE
No company reported that an absence of inclusive culture was contributing to a loss WAS CONTRIBUTING
of women from their internal pipeline. This illustrates a deficiency in appreciation TO A LOSS OF
of the importance and impact that culture has on a corporation, and the importance WOMEN FROM THEIR
women place on diversity, inclusion and cultural alignment. INTERNAL PIPELINE

Staff turnover and attrition is a natural part of the human capital cycle. The
traditional view that companies should cultivate staff loyalty is being replaced by
the idea of improving employee engagement and impact. Businesses that foster strong,
well-functioning and inclusive cultures have found significant benefits in engaging
employees. Good culture can be a distinct competitive advantage and so companies
must invest more time and resources to understand fully the reasons their talent MEN AND WOMEN
is staying, but also why it might be leaving. REPORTED LEAVING
THEIR LAST COMPANIES
No companies felt that culture was a driver for individuals leaving a company BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T
(Figure 49). However, both men and women reported that not feeling valued, ALIGN WITH CULTURE
and a corporate culture misaligned with their values, were reasons why they
left their last company.

The individuals’ report on why they have left their previous employer reveled that
better career opportunities elsewhere was the leading reason (Figure 50), although a
greater proportion of men reported so. Also, we found that women are more likely
to leave their employer if the culture does not align with their values, especially at the WOMEN ARE MORE
Function Leader level. Furthermore, no men at this level report having left a company
LIKELY TO LEAVE
because they didn’t feel a valued member of the team, whereas 8% of women have done so.
THEIR EMPLOYER IF
These factors, which presently impact women more than men, but affect both genders,
are tied together in company culture. The fact that companies convey an incognizance
THE CULTURE DOES
about the true impact that their poor culture might be having on their employees is NOT ALIGN WITH
an area for concern. THEIR VALUES
Transitioning / 90

Figure 50 / Reasons why study participants left their previous employer.

22.5%
My career opportunity was better elsewhere
29.7%

10.9%
My path to promotion was restricted
11.3%

The culture of the company did not 10.3%


align with my values 7.2%

8.2%
I was made redundant
8.7%

6.7%
I did not feel a valued member of the team
7.2%

6.1%
I was headhunted to a new position
5.6%

4.9%
I needed to relocate
3.1%

4.3%
I was unfairly compensated
2.6%

4%
Disagreed with the company's strategy
5.1%

0.6%
I had commitments outside of work
0%

Women Men
91 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

6.3 Women at the Function Leader Level


and Above Were Less Likely to Secure
a New Role of Greater Seniority

We also investigated the level of role seniority which study participants secured
when leaving their last employer and taking on their current positions (Figure 51).
We found that overall a larger proportion of men secured roles of greater seniority
(52% men vs 45% women) and the divergence was greater when analyzed by the level
of employment. Moreover, at the Mid-Level Leader and Function Leader level, seen
as critical in the cultivation of C-suite talent, women were more likely than men to
have taken a demotion to their current role, with no Function Leader men reporting
having done so.

Figure 51 / The level of seniority secured by individuals when taking on their current job.

45.2% 46.2% 8.6%


Women

51.6% 40.5% 7.9%


Men
Secured a role of greater seniority Secured a role of comparable seniority Secured a role of lower seniority

Individuals who secured a role of lower seniority:

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

14.6%
12.9%

9.4%
8.3%
8.5% 6.3%
7.3% 8%

3.8%
0%
0% 0%
Women Men
Transitioning / 92

6.4 Women Are Changing Companies


to Scale the Ranks

To further understand the motivations of people that transition from one company
to another in order to accelerate their careers, we looked at the frequency with which
individuals change companies. We found that starting from the Function Leader
level upwards, the significantly greater proportion of women, compared to men, have
regularly changed their employer to accelerate their careers, with the greatest difference
at the C-level where 63% of women reported having done so versus only 21% of men
(Figure 52). This shows very clearly a different career strategy between men and
women who have reached the C-suite.

Affected by the cumulative factors (described throughout) that hinder their


progression, women seemingly opt for leaving their companies and look externally
to accelerate their careers.

Figure 52 / Individuals that changed companies in order to accelerate their careers.

Contributor Manager Mid-Level Leader Function Leader C-Level Board Member

62.5%

37.5%
33.3% 34.4%
30.2%
27.1%
21.2%
26% 25% 25%
21.6%
18.2%

Women Men

6.5 Most Professionals Believe


They Can Realize Their Ambitions
in the Life Sciences Sector

Transitioning between companies creates an opportunity for a good talent to be


lost from the sector overall, affording the companies in other sectors the opportunity
to intercept the talent flow and for individuals to grow curious of the alternative
sector options.

Our data show only 15% of women and 14% of men report to consider perusing careers
in other sectors (Figure 53). While these figures needn’t alarm us, the idea of 15% of
the sector talent being susceptible to being recruited into companies in other sectors,
means that we could see the talents of highly skilled people leave the sector. This,
of course, doesn’t account for the inflows from other sectors that might be required
for the long-term prosperity of the life sciences.

These figures peak among study participants at the Contributor level (26% men
and 20% women), decreasing thereafter with employment seniority. This shows
93 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

us that potentially 1 in 5 women and 1 in 4 men believe their career ambitions can


be better realized in other sectors at the Contributor level, the very source of the
talent pipeline. This clearly is worth addressing.

Figure 53 / Do you believe you can better realize your career


ambitions in a sector other than life sciences?

15.1% 13.5%
Yes Yes

84.9% 86.5%
No No
Women Men

Although a small proportion of study participants applied for roles outside of the sector,
we took the opportunity to investigate which sectors attracted the talent from the life
sciences industry (Table 4). Women predominately applied for roles in Education and
Academia, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Non-profit, while men more often applied
to IT/ Technology, Financial Services, and Management Consulting. Men also
applied for roles in Legal, Energy and Security sectors.

Table 4 / Sectors outside of Life Sciences that study participants applied to when changing their
job the last time.

WOMEN MEN

1. Education (incl. Academia) 1. Information Technology/ Technology

2. Information Technology/ Technology 2. Financial Services, Management Consulting

3. Manufacturing 3. Security, Law/ Patent

4. Financial Services, Non-Profit, Healthcare, Social/ Humanitarian 4. Energy

5. Aerospace 5. Education (incl. Academia), Healthcare

The competitive landscape for talent continually shifts and new threats emerge
which offer alternative avenues for talented people in the life sciences sector to
pursue their career ambitions. While the sector cannot attain immunity from these
threats, it is useful to understand where people are seeking employment so that
defensive strategies can be deployed. This is acutely important when trying to address
the challenges associated with under-represented groups employed within our sector.
Transitioning / 94

6.6 Talent at Risk – Individuals


Currently Unemployed

A legitimate source of highly qualified talent can be the unemployed, as people


leave employment for a host of positive reasons. Companies actively recruiting
will continue, as they have in the past, to make themselves attractive to this readily
accessible talent cohort.

The number of unemployed people who participated in this study was equal to ~10%
of that in work. This pool of unemployed people from the life sciences sector must
be viewed as part of the overall pipeline of talent, and so it was essential for us to explore
the sentiments of this group as to detect any risk of losing qualified women from the
pipeline. If the pipeline is leaking talent, we must establish when and where to, as this
insight would enable us to begin reparation work on an already weak pipeline of next
generation women leaders.

One of the distinct characteristics of the unemployed group of participants is that they
are highly representative of people in ‘transition’ and so their perspectives, which might
differ from those people in work, are incredibly valuable.

Having asked women currently unemployed about their sentiments towards working
in the life sciences, a greater proportion (compared to women in work) replied that
they believe they can better realize their career ambitions in a sector other than life
sciences. In fact, twice as many applied for positions outside the life sciences sector,
and considerably fewer think they will be working in the life sciences sector three
years from now (Figure 54).

Figure 54 / Women’s sentiments towards the future prospects of


working in the Life Sciences sector.

I believe I can better realize my career ambitions in a sector


other than Life Sciences
Unemployed 28%

Employed 15.1%

I have applied for positions outside the Life Sciences sector


Unemployed 20.8%

Employed 12%

I think I won't be working in the Life Sciences sector


3 years from now
Unemployed 12.5%

Employed 6.8%

If 1 in 4 unemployed women feel they can better realize their ambition outside
of the life science sector, and that 1 in 5 of them are backing this up by applying
to other sectors, this has significant aggregated consequences for the sector. To what
95 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

extent this is attributable to misalignment of their skills/experience with the needs of


the sector is not known, but other indicators in this report suggest that inequality and
organizational culture could be contributing to unemployed women acting in this way.
For any life sciences company competing for this available talent, it is important
to understand that these unemployed women have this view.

An analysis of motivations related to joining a new company revealed that three times
as many unemployed women valued flexible working (flexible working was ranked
as a 4th top factor for unemployed women, while it was 8th for women in work)
(Figure 55), hinting at a working condition which is important to them. We know from
previous chapters that women utilized a consistent blend of approaches for attaining
employment as they ascend the ranks. Here we see that unemployed women are also
less likely to use their professional network or use headhunters to find a job, but instead
more likely to find a new role directly through the employer or an advertisement.

Figure 55 / Reasons why women in work and unemployed women


joined their last company, and methods used to search or the new role.

Factor that influenced women's decision to join the last company

10.3%
Flexible working (location/hours)
3%

20.7%
Science and technology
13.9%

How women found their last job

34.5%
Professional network
39%

6.9%
Headhunted
13%

10.3%
Advertisement
6.8%

27.6%
Directly through the employer
14.9%

Unemployed Employed

Factors cited by the unemployed women as important for their retention in a company
give us some clues about how their past employer did not meet their expectations
and about the conditions they will look for when searching for a new employer.
Unemployed women rated as top value career progression (Table 5). They also rated
higher than the working cohort the importance of making a difference (ranked 5th
vs 8th), inclusion (8th vs 13th), and a perception of equal pay (10th vs 12th). Whereas,
pay and reward, as well as recognition were ranked lower (7th vs 4th and 9th vs
6th respectively).
Transitioning / 96

Table 5 / Top factors most valued by women when continuing to work in a company.

UNEMPLOYED WOMEN EMPLOYED WOMEN

1. Career Progression 1. Co-workers

2. Co-workers 2. Career Progression

3. Work Environment 3. Work Environment

4. Management and Leadership 4. Pay and Rewards

5. Making a Difference 5. Management and Leadership

6. Learning and Development 6. Recognition

7. Pay and Rewards 7. Learning and Development

8. Inclusion 8. Making a Difference

9. Recognition 9. Flexible Working

10. Perception of Equal Pay 10. Organizational Stability

Furthermore, similarly to women in work, women that are currently unemployed


ranked co-workers, work environment, and management and leadership in the top 5 factors
when continuing working for the company. However, we found that they are more likely
to leave the company due to the instability of a team they work with (62% unemployed
women vs 52% women in work) (Figure 56). Also, it seems that unemployed women
were travelling more in their last company than the cohort of women currently in work
(8% vs 2% report level of travel >50% of annual time) and were less happy with the
amount of travel when compared to women in work (76% vs 87%).

Figure 56 / Women’s views on team stability and travel commitment.

Instability of the team has been an indicator for me


to change company
Unemployed 61.5%

Employed 52.3%

My annual travel commitment for work is >50%


Unemployed 8%

Employed 2.4%

I am happy with level of travel commitment


Unemployed 76%

Employed 87%
97 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Negative experiences related to career development, learning, as well as promotion


and recognition, may be contributing factors for women to change their companies.
Compared to women in work, our cohort of unemployed women reports in greater
proportions having fewer opportunities than men in their last company (65% vs 38% NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES
women in work) and being less likely to receive regular recognition (23% vs 49%)
RELATED TO CAREER
(Figure 57). Fewer of these unemployed women feel their learning and development
DEVELOPMENT,
opportunities have been constant (46% vs 60%) and that the roles they have taken
have been a stretch for their skills/experience (42% vs 60%). Whether it is perceived
LEARNING, AS WELL
or real, unemployed women report a sense of being under-utilized by their employers. AS PROMOTION AND
RECOGNITION, MAY
Figure 57 / Women’s views on opportunities and development. BE CONTRIBUTING
FACTORS FOR
WOMEN TO CHANGE
THEIR COMPANIES
In my last organization, women had fewer opportunities than men
Unemployed 64.7%

Employed 37.5%

I have received regular recognition for my performance which has


resulted in promotions
Unemployed 23.1%

Employed 49%

My learning and development opportunities have been constant


Unemployed 46.2%

Employed 59%

The roles I have taken have always been a stretch for


my skills/experience
Unemployed 42.3%

Employed 59.9%
UNEMPLOYED WOMEN
REPORTED IN GREATER
PROPORTIONS THAT
Unemployed women reported in greater proportions that the evaluation process
THE EVALUATION
in their last company was biased (50% vs 33%) and unfair (56% vs 30%) (Figure 58). PROCESS IN THEIR LAST
Effectively, they had less confidence the right people were being promoted (48% vs COMPANY WAS BIASED
63% did not agree) and less frequently asked for promotion (77% rarely asked for (50% VS 33%) AND
promotion vs 61%). UNFAIR (56% VS 30%)
Transitioning / 98

Figure 58 / Women’s views on performance evaluation and promotion.

I consider the performance review or evaluation process


in my last company to be biased
Unemployed 50%

Employed 33.3%

My job performance was not evaluated fairly


Unemployed 55.6%

Employed 29.7%

I do not consider that the right people were promoted


within my last company
Unemployed 63%

Employed 47.8%

I’ve rarely asked for promotion


Unemployed 76.9%

Employed 60.8%

We also found that fairness of compensation is a factor of higher importance for


unemployed women. High ranking of ‘perception of equal pay’ showed earlier
(Figure 59), can be explained by the fact that when comparing to women in work,
considerably higher proportion of unemployed women viewed compensation as UNEMPLOYED WOMEN
unfair in their last company (59% vs 36%).
ASPIRE IN GREATER
PROPORTION TO SERVE
Figure 59 / Proportions of women who believe they were
IN AN EXECUTIVE
unfairly compensated.
MANAGEMENT
POSITION OR TO JOIN
A BOARD THAN THE
59.3% WOMEN IN WORK
35.7%
Women

Unemployed Employed

Overall, the data described above portrays a picture of a workplace in which


unemployed women have neither been supported in their personal development
or provided opportunities equal to others. This begins to explain why these women
think in greater proportions about a career in other sectors. However, this picture
needs further illustration, which the following data begins to offer. While these
procedural and conditional aspects of employment seem to strongly influence the
outlook of these unemployed women, it is also valuable to understand how company
culture might also be affecting them, and what role diversity and inclusion plays in this.
99 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

In line with the greater priority given to inclusion in the ranking of values considered
when staying with a company (Figure 60), we found that working with diverse teams
is of even greater importance to women currently unemployed, as 81% report to
seek diverse teams compared to 72% of women in work.

Figure 60 / Women who sought out teams of diverse experience


to work with.

80.8%

71.8%
Women

Unemployed Employed

The above may be explained by the status of diversity in the organizations those women
previously worked for (Table 6). Only 14% of currently unemployed women view their
last organization as one that has successfully introduced diversity and inclusion in some areas
(33% of women in work think so). Additionally, 1 in 5 unemployed women thinks that
diversity actions did not follow words (21%), a view shared by only 8% of women in work.

Table 6 / Women’s views on the current status of diversity in the companies they work(ed) for.

UNEMPLOYED WOMEN RESPONSES EMPLOYED WOMEN RESPONSES

1. Tries to encourage diversity and 24.1% 1. Has successfully introduced diversity 33.3%
inclusiveness but not successfully and inclusion in some areas

2. Beginning to recognize diversity 20.7% 2. Positive utilization of diversity 19.6%


and inclusiveness and inclusion

3. Actions do not follow words 20.7% 3. Beginning to recognize diversity 13.5%


and inclusiveness

4. Has successfully introduced diversity 13.8% 4. Tries to encourage diversity and 13.2%
and inclusion in some areas inclusiveness but not successfully

5. Not diverse or inclusive 6.9% 5. Fully inclusive culture 9.2%

6. Positive utilization of diversity 6.9% 6. Actions do not follow words 7.6%


and inclusion

7. Fully inclusive culture 6.9% 7. Not diverse or inclusive 3.6%

As we described elsewhere in this report, mentorship/sponsorship is frequently cited


as having significant benefit to the development of talented leaders. Senior women
particularly have gained tremendous advantages from these programs, yet only
15% of unemployed women report to have had a regular mentor, compared
to 42% of women in work (Figure 61).
Transitioning / 100

Figure 61 / Women who had a regular mentor/sponsor.

15.4%

42.2%
Women

Unemployed Employed

Having asked the unemployed women what they would recommend their previous
company do to improve the participation of women in the workplace (Table 7),
we found they are more supportive of an idea of proportional promotion (e.g. promoting
the same proportion of women across all levels of the organization), which they ranked
as 4th top recommendation (41% vs 28%) and effectively less supported gender balanced
shortlists (9% vs 14%). They are also more supportive of a diversified leadership team
(62% vs 57%) and unconscious bias training (56% vs 51%). Flexible working again ranks
highly in their recommendations, albeit not as high as for employed women.

Table 7 / Actions that unemployed and employed women recommend the companies
to implement in order to improve the participation of women in the workplace.

UNEMPLOYED WOMEN RESPONSES EMPLOYED WOMEN RESPONSES

1. Diversified leadership team 61.8% 1. Diversified leadership team 57%

2. Unconscious bias training 55.9% 2. Flexible working (Time/Location) 53.6%

3. Flexible working (Time/Location) 41.2% 3. Unconscious bias training 51.2%

4. Proportional promotion* 41.2% 4. Improved childcare support 33%

5. Interview training for all employees 23.5% 5. Proportional promotion* 28.2%

6. Diversity metrics which are 23.5% 6. Diversity metrics which are 22.7%
clearly communicated clearly communicated

7. Improved childcare support 17.7% 7. Interview training for all employees 19.3%

8. Gender balanced shortlisting 8.8% 8. Gender balanced shortlisting 13.7%

9. Positive discrimination** 8.8% 9. Reduced travel commitments 7.1%

10. Reduced travel commitments 2.9% 10. Positive discrimination** 2.6%

*  Proportional promotion (e.g. promoting the same proportion of women across all levels of the organization)
** Positive discrimination (a practice of favoring individuals that suffer discrimination)
101 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Finally, looking closer at the job history and transitions from one company to
another, we found that 50% more unemployed women reported to change their jobs
more frequently than their industry peers (Figure 62). Interestingly, we also found that
unemployed women were more likely to change companies to accelerate their careers –
half of these women reported so, while only 30% of in work peers agreed.

Figure 62 / Women’s job transitions related to career progression.

I have changed jobs more frequently than my industry peers


Unemployed 26.9%

Employed 18%

To accelerate my career, I have regularly changed companies


Unemployed 50%

Employed 29.7%

These results suggest this cohort of women use job transitions as an avenue to
progress in their careers. This view can be supported by the finding that a greater
proportion of unemployed women view themselves as more ambitious now than in
the past (62% vs 50% of women in work) and consider themselves excellent leaders
(92% vs 80%) (Figure 63). Furthermore, they aspire in greater proportion to serve
in an Executive Management (56% vs 45%) position or have plans to join a company
board (41% vs 31%).

Figure 63 / Women’s ambitions and career aspirations.

I am more ambitious now than in the past


Unemployed 61.5%

Employed 50.1%

I consider myself to be an excellent leader


Unemployed 92.3%

Employed 79.9%

I aspire to serve in an Executive Management (C-suite) position


Unemployed 55.6%

Employed 45.1%

I have current or future plans to join a company board


Unemployed 40.7%

Employed 31.4%
Transitioning / 102

Overall, the data on unemployed women presents important findings because they
inform us about the factors and behaviors which will drive unemployed women back
towards work. The importance placed on the culture, work environment and work
conditions; compensation, learning, recognition; and eventually promotion and
career development, can all affect how they choose the next employer.

This report aims to stem the loss of women from all areas of the talent pipeline,
to optimize the opportunity to bring as many women through to the top levels.
The unemployed women are significant constituents in the talent pool and this
analysis shows us how companies need to think differently about how they attract
and engage this available source of talent. Diversifying the talent pipeline will
require the inclusion of both the employed and unemployed.

6.7 Most Professionals Intend to Continue


Their Careers in the Life Sciences Industry

Understanding the long-term views of both men and women employed


in Massachusetts’ life sciences sector was also necessary to this transitioning phase.
Knowing the level of sector-wide employee engagement would help ascertain the talent
base and the level of commitment to maintaining a career in the sector. Participants
were therefore asked whether they believed they would be working in the sector in
three years’ time. The overall response is in line with those aforementioned and shows
that almost all men and women were convinced about continuing their career in the
life sciences sector (>90% for all levels and genders) (Figure 64).

Figure 64 / Individuals’ views on whether they see themselves


working in the Life Sciences sector in 3 years’ time.

6.8% 5.5%
No No

93.2% 94.5%
Yes Yes
Women Men

It appears that despite a sense of overall inequality by women, they remained strongly
devoted to their life science careers and that the broader talent base is highly motivated
to remain within the life sciences sector.
103 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

6.8 Putting It All Together

What we aimed to find out?


• Are companies failing in developing people in the • What companies must do to attract available
talent pipeline to successive roles? unemployed women.

• Are job transitions helping women to progress in • What difference exists between women
their careers equally to men? in employment and those unemployed?

• Can transitioning from one job to another result


in the loss of women from the sector?

What we found:
• The greatest proportion of study participants • A group equal to ~10% of our study were
transitioned to their current roles from other unemployed, and unemployed women are more
companies, therefore not from within their likely to be lost from the sector and the pipeline
existing employer. than their employed colleagues.

• Better career opportunities elsewhere (30% men, 23% • Unemployed women prioritize different factors,
women) and restricted path to promotion (both 11%) preferences and values when joining or staying with
were given by the greatest proportion of participants a company compared to employed women.
as reasons for leaving their last employer.
• Unemployed women show a stronger conviction
• The 3rd most popular reason women (10%) left their toward the benefits of diversity and oppose a lack
last employer was because they did not align with the of diversity, more than women in work.
company culture and values, peaking at the Function
Leader level. Some 7% of men reported the same, • A greater proportion of unemployed women, relative
to employed women, reported higher ambition,
ranking it 5th.
motivation, career progression, experience and  
• When changing companies, larger proportions of a preference for working in diverse teams.
men secure roles of greater seniority (52% men vs
45% women) while more women secure roles of • Nearly half of the companies (49%) were unaware of
the reasons why women left their organization, with
comparable seniority (46%).
60% of Start-ups stating this.
• Senior women admit to changing their companies • Companies mainly attribute women leaving to a lack
regularly to scale the ranks, more so than men
of opportunity for career development (23%), which
(e.g. 63% of C-level women, 21% of C-level men).
is in line with reports of women. SME companies lead
• At Function Leader level, seen as critical in the in the proportion of women they believe left for that
cultivation of C-suite talent, women were more likely reason (35%).
than men to have taken a demotion to their current
role, with no Function Leader men reporting having • No company reported that an absence of inclusive
culture was contributing to a loss of women from
done so.
their internal pipeline.
• Just 15% of participants consider pursuing careers in
other sectors, and 9 out of 10 persons say they’ll be
working in life sciences three years from now.
Putting It All Together / 104

Conclusions:
• Succession planning and talent development is sub- their companies, and where they are doing so, they
optimal in companies, especially Start-ups, leading seemingly misinterpret this by not appreciating how
to inefficiency in developing talent internally and culture might be influencing the decision on the part
reliance on external talent. of women.

• Employee tenures are averaging 3 years and the • Poor alignment with company culture is encouraging
dynamic and competitive talent market should women to leave their employers.
encourage companies to do more to retain and
develop people by recognizing their more individual • By recognizing the different preferences and
priorities, interest in diversity, and high levels of
employee preferences.
motivation and ambition among unemployed women,
• Companies are insufficiently taking steps to companies could more effectively engage this
understand the reasons why women are leaving valuable population of talent.

Recommendations:
1. The board of directors and executive management 4. The curation of content and themes aimed at
should exhibit best practice in succession planning, recruiting should consider the different preferences
including diversity, thereby setting the tone for the of people unemployed.
entire organization.
5. Companies need to design suitable processes, absent
2. All companies should incorporate talent development of pressure or influence, to accurately establish
and succession planning in the performance goals of the reason employees are leaving. These must be
managers throughout the company and ensure that routinely applied, ensuring feedback is used to
diversity is part of the related goals. identify effects on nominated talent groups such
as women.
3. Companies should offer employees clear guidance
and full transparency on how the organization is 6. As part of the metrics companies measure there
structured, along with how to progress and extend should be data on people leaving, including the
your career throughout the structure. proportion of women to men, and at what levels.
7
CONCLUDING
REMARKS

#PathToDiversity
Concluding Remarks / 106

7. Concluding Remarks

There is no single factor or time identified by this


research which, on its own, leads to women leaving
the life science industry’s talent pipeline. Instead,
evidence in this report leads to the conclusion
that an accumulation of factors, experienced over
a sustained period, which impose inequality on a
woman, leads to her career being stalled, modified,
disrupted or truncated. A woman’s career, when
viewed against metrics commonly associated with
a global view of career success, is being limited by
a system which is shown to favor men.

Data in this report shows that women enter the talent pipeline in equal proportion
to men but the gender gap grows from that point on, reaching 72% difference by
the time a woman becomes a board member. This provides tangible evidence of the
visible gender inequality in the life sciences industry. Furthermore, this work shows
that the women entering the pipeline do so with equivalent potential and motivation
but the industry does not provide them with the opportunity to climb the ranks.

Companies do not universally focus on creating diverse and inclusive cultures,


although many are making considerable strides. Any company not fully committed
to gender diversity must be encouraged by this report’s data to reassess their
perspective. Through this study it becomes apparent that companies’ processes,
behaviors, values and culture affect large populations of employees, and
influence women’s careers more significantly than men’s.

Women at all levels are assessing the inclusive culture when joining a company, and
culture becomes an important decision-making factor as women progress in seniority.
Specifically, some markers of diversity were found to drastically influence their decision,
such as the absence of women among the company’s board, among management,
and in interview teams which can lead to a possible loss of 46% of the women
in the talent market.

A central tenet of inclusivity is to value the individual. Throughout this study,


we highlight the very individual career preferences of both men and women, ranging
from how they assess new employers, to what is engaging them once employed. Women
specified factors important to them such as: company culture, fairness, financial rewards
and incentives, co-workers, leadership, and opportunity. Investigating and monitoring
how these preferences differ between the genders and job levels, will improve how
companies attract and retain women.

There are many data points in this report which isolate deficiencies inside companies,
such as, twice as many women than men believe that the recruitment process in their
companies is biased, or that more women judge their performance evaluation to be
bias and unfair. The most important finding of all is that when the evidence is viewed
107 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

collectively, it amounts to a big effect on the career development of women. Any


organization must recognize the gravity of these collective findings.

Where this big effect seems to weigh on women the greatest is among the senior
women at the Function Leader level: a prime talent source for the C-suite (see the
Function Leader excerpt). A career of unequal treatment is seemingly compounded
for these women as they are experiencing, relative to their male peers, multiple
hindrances such as: restricted opportunities for progression, higher levels of
bias, lesser pay rises, fewer formal evaluations, less mentorship/sponsorship,
longer tenures, less likelihood of increased responsibility, and misalignment with
company culture. This points to an accumulation of issues which are affecting
the next-generation of women leaders.

This report is the first detailed examination of the life sciences human-capital
cycle, offering extensive insights into the systemic problems which are leading
to the sector’s chronic gender inequality and perpetuation of a substantial gender
gap. The aggregation of bias and the unequal provision of opportunities to women
by Massachusetts life science companies is impairing the prospects of the current
and future generation of women leaders. While it does not excuse individuals
from responsibility for effective stewardship of their careers, it sharply points to
issues existing throughout companies, and therefore the wider system, which are
limiting the contribution and participation of women in the life science industry
of Massachusetts.

These problems, when tackled individually, will have a positive impact. If tackled
together as a set of interconnected findings, they will bring transformative change.
The whole industry must respond and take immediate action to bring about
progressive solutions to give those women who harbor ambition the opportunity to
fulfill it, and in doing so, positively change the gender composition of the sector. The
leaders of constituent companies must do more to understand the issues of diversity
inside their organization and be bold and courageous in their vision for diverse and
inclusive companies. The time to act is now.
8
ACTIONS WE
CAN TAKE

#PathToDiversity
109 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

8. Actions We Can Take

This report, while evidencing the gender diversity problem, also draws
out 50 recommendations that companies can make to improve the
participation of the women in their companies. The application of these
recommendations will require tailoring for each company. Below are
7 broad approaches that can be acted upon today to begin changing
the status of women in life sciences.

1. Support Women
Focus on providing extensive support to women at every level of the company. Make sure
they have access to mentors and sponsor them. Offer support and guidance to women with
their career planning, give them equal opportunity to develop skills and experience. Speak
to women earlier in their careers about the requisite skill and experience needed to serve
in C-suite and board level roles. Executive leaders today should play an active role in
fostering this.

2. New Networking
The sector needs to explore new and creative approaches to networking. There needs to
be a greater emphasis on desegregating networks and providing opportunities for people
to broaden their connections and increase awareness of capabilities and experience that
is currently unrecognized. Organizers of networking opportunities need to focus on making
sure gender-balanced fora are standard and that cross-gender networking is planned for.

3. Share Best Practice


Companies are pursuing a range of approaches to increase diversity. The industry needs
to learn from the experiences of active initiatives, including lessons learned from failure.
Define, measure and monitor diversity efforts and publish case studies that contribute
to sector-wide learning about what works. Use trade bodies and member associations
to disseminate these case studies.

4. More Numbers
Company boards and executive teams must define diversity targets and the metrics used
to reach them. Publish the targets, metrics and data internally, and preferably publicly.
Make sure responsibility for collecting and measuring diversity data is given to designated
employees and they work with internal stakeholders to review and evolve the data
requirements. The board and executive management must make sure that analysis
of this data is reported to them regularly and that gaps are actively addressed.

5. Engagement
Change starts with listening to the views of all people. The collective industry, companies,
and organization leaders must have open, inclusive and clear dialogue with individuals, and
groups. These fora must tackle the difficult conversations and people should have confidence
they are being both listened to carefully and contributing to change. Great ideas will come
from these discussions and where acted upon, these insights will have the potential
to increase diversity.
Actions We Can Take / 110

6. Culture
Leaders need to create organizational cultures that are more inclusive. However, while
leaders must set the cultural direction, a leadership team alone cannot enact the change.
All employees, at all levels, play a role in shaping company culture and particularly in making
it inclusive. All employees must model the desired inclusive behaviors and values. Leaders
need to ask for regular feedback from employees to make sure the culture of the company
is being experienced positively throughout.

7. Leadership
Chairpersons, board directors, board committees and executive management need to
show leadership on the diversity and inclusion agenda. These leaders need to take full
responsibility, and to communicate clearly the specific diversity goals and targets throughout
the company. Leadership teams must set an example to the rest of the organization, as well
as the wider community. The actions of leadership teams are being watched. Set the tone
at the top and lead the change.
9
LIST OF
RECOMMENDATIONS

#PathToDiversity
List of Recommendations / 112

9. List of Recommendations

1. Companies and the industry must seek to address 12. Companies will benefit in the recruitment of
the system failure leading to the gender gap. women if they can cultivate an inclusive culture
where women feel they belong.
2. Companies should seek to implement balanced
recruitment and promotion measures for all 13. Companies should reduce their reliance on
functions, intentionally making all functions professional networks to recruit and pursue
more diverse and therefore more attractive to broader and more meritocratic approaches.
women and men.
14. Individuals need to desegregate their networks in
3. Women should be counselled and sponsored to recognition of the dominant effect of professional
progress their careers in functions which provide networks as a pathway to career opportunities.
clear pathways to the C-suite and board.
15. Where companies employ headhunters to recruit,
4. Companies must more effectively retain all women they should set mandatory service levels which
around career breaks, and routinely give support stipulate gender diversity requirements.
to continue their professional engagement and
development where they so choose. 16. To attract candidates, companies need to pay
attention to how their leadership and management
5. In order to reduce disruption of women’s careers is viewed, including its diversity. The board of
due to childcare breaks, companies should directors should be diverse to more effectively recruit
introduce shared parental leave and advocate women. The board of directors, senior management,
that men participate. and leadership should make clear commitments to
gender diversity in their organizations.
6. Companies must develop and implement new
processes and best practices which reduce bias in 17. Publicly listed companies should make commitments
the recruitment process. to addressing gender diversity at the board, but also
throughout the company, and in doing so write the
7. Job descriptions must be drafted in a more commitment into the board’s relevant charters as
measured and considered way, with attention paid to to achieve the full focus and energy of the board
language and specified requirements, clearly setting of directors.
out the role and responsibilities as required by
the job. 18. All company employees (including executive
management) involved in interviews should be given
8. Candidate long-lists and short-lists should aspire to regular and advanced interview training, as well
be gender-balanced, with at least 30% participation as unconscious bias training.
of the minority gender.
19. Interview teams drawn from company management
9. Companies need to request from candidates and and staff should be gender balanced.
employees voluntary information that will help them
align with the preferences of all candidates, but in 20. Companies should collect diversity recruitment
particular women and minorities. data and metrics, undertaking regular reviews to
evaluate performance relative to company goals and
10. Introducing more varied factors to engage women industry peers.
would increase the appeal of companies and
recruitment messages should be tailored accordingly. 21. As an integral part of their retention program,
companies must develop more sophisticated means
11. Companies should be clear about what they can for collecting employee feedback and insight which
offer women by way of learning and development would help tailor retention strategies.
opportunities, flexible working and pay equality
in order to attract them.
113 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

22. Companies should set out clearer C-suite 34. Companies need to better define what they mean by
requirements and conduct frequent and structured ‘equal opportunities for women’ and more accurately
reviews with Function Leaders to assess their assess how they’re doing against this.
suitability according to the criteria.
35. Companies, alongside their employees, should work
23. Companies, especially SMEs and Start-ups, should be to improve their definitions of what diversity and
moving towards more diverse structures throughout inclusion look like, what behaviors would lead to
all employment levels, ensuring the presence a more inclusive culture, and what the organization
of more female managers. could do (which it presently isn’t) that would be
more effective in bringing about diversity and an
24. Performance and evaluation procedures need to inclusive culture.
be assessed, and where necessary changed, to bring
improved levels of consistency across all employees 36. The board of directors and executive management
at all levels, removing any potential for bias. should exhibit best practice in succession planning,
including diversity, thereby setting the tone for the
25. Companies should introduce objective and neutral entire organization.
panels of diversity champions who could assess and
review internal promotion procedures for diversity. 37. All companies should incorporate talent development
and succession planning in the performance goals of
26. Employees should be given explicit guidance managers throughout the company and ensure that
regarding how to progress along their career path diversity is part of the related goals. Each position
and what each stage of development requires in should include equal number of women and men
terms of experience, skills and competence. candidates for each position.

27. Companies should carefully monitor the 38. Companies should offer employees clear guidance
opportunities they offer to both genders and measure and full transparency on how the organization is
the actual level of equality. structured, along with how to progress and extend
an employee’s career throughout the structure.
28. Policies and procedures around pay need to be more
transparent and process must be implemented to 39. The curation of content and themes aimed at
check for unequal pay between genders. Individual recruiting should consider the different preferences
employees must be given rights to challenge unequal of people unemployed.
or unfair pay where evidence exists. Public companies
should publish annual data on gender-related pay 40. Companies need to design suitable processes, absent
as part of their annual filings. of pressure or influence, to accurately establish
the reason employees are leaving. These must be
29. Companies could consider introducing routinely applied, ensuring feedback is used to
a more variable menu-style option for pay and identify the effects on nominated talent groups
rewards, meaning individual preferences can such as women.
be accommodated.
41. As part of the metrics companies measure should be
30. Companies should publish internally, and preferably data on people leaving, including the proportion of
externally, the data relating to gender representation women to men and at what levels.
by level and function, showing progress over time.
42. Companies should set out clear process by which
31. An inclusive culture must be well defined and actively all employees can self-nominate for promotion and
pursued by companies. decisions for/against promotion should be openly
and constructively communicated. A failsafe process
32. Companies should actively promote mentorship and free from bias and political contention should be
sponsorship, either as a formalized program, or more implemented to deal with contestable decisions.
generally. Such programs should be accompanied by
clear goals and metrics to assess their effectiveness. 43. Employee referral schemes should offer greater
reward to employees who refer women to the
33. Positions of leadership, and all relevant talent sources company for jobs/employment.
leading to these appointments, must actively target
the appointment of women at all levels.
List of Recommendations / 114

44. Functions with disproportionately high numbers of 48. Women returning to work following breaks of
women working in them should implement many of longer than 6 months for parental leave should be
the recommendations in this report to balance these given access to a range of ‘reintroduction measures’
functions with more male employees. aimed at reintegrating them into work, enhancing
their skills, setting career plans, and provided
45. Human Resource, Talent Acquisition and a dedicated senior mentor.
external Recruitment Partners must seek to attain
feedback from women who withdraw from a 49. Companies should discourage their employees
recruitment process. from participating on panel discussions at events,
conferences and symposia unless women and men
46. Company CEOs should make a clear statement are participating on the panel.
of diversity commitment which is publicly shared.
50. Diversity ‘Champions’ should be sought throughout
47. Company CEOs should write an annual letter to the company and in particular, men should be
all employees which clearly sets out the company’s engaged as agents of change.
diversity data, charts progress against targets and
defines areas of progress and priorities.
10
ANNEX

#PathToDiversity
Annex / 116

Annex 1. Function Level


Leaders Feel the Impact

While every stage in a woman’s career was explored in


this study, we had a special interest in those women
available for an opportunity at the C-suite, typically
from the level immediately below. This level, Function
Leader, was of most relevance because of the way this
cohort, more than any in the pipeline, feeds the C-suite.
If women are to participate at the C-suite and board,
then the companies must ensure they are arriving at
this level and levels below in adequate numbers, and
with equal capabilities to become the next generation
of executive leaders.
Much has been written about the ‘glass-ceiling’ and how women looking to reach
the C-suite need to attend to certain aspects of their career-management to reach
these top positions. Our goal was to look at this more deeply, to see where these
women differ from men, and how they differ from other women in levels above
and below them. Furthermore, we wanted to see how these women’s views align
with the views of companies at this stage of their career.

In doing this analysis, we have tried to segregate the findings into two groups.
The first group focuses on factors (large and small) which have accumulated over
successive roles and promotions leading to the Function Leader level. Exploring
the important pathway to the level of Function Leader informs us about the career
choices women have made, and been exposed to. This has provided us with solid
answers for how to directly increase the future flow of women to this level.

Beyond this, the second data set explores how Function Leader women exhibit
different actions, outlooks, and attitude from others, based on factors affecting
them at this stage of their career. This examination of current factors provides
understanding about how interventional approaches can be introduced to
optimize the careers of women currently occupying this level, increasing
their probability of moving to the C-suite and board.

The Pathway to Function Leader

Our intention for this excerpt on the Function Leader level is not to repeat the
evidence already provided in this report, but to offer an interpretation of what we
see in the results, and how this is important in continuing to see talented women
arrive at the Function Leader level in balanced proportion to men.

It is very clear from the analysis in this report that women are entering the industry
at the Contributor level and are immediately exposed to inequality, a sense of bias
117 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

and unfairness, and, as a direct result, their participation drops relative to men. From
this early level onwards, they never see the most number of women employed above
them, but instead, below them – establishing immediately a sense of gender imbalance.

The data also points to a continual sense of inequality and the attribution of so many
of these effects to the workplace and culture. The sum of these effects weighs heavily,
and increasingly so, on the careers of women as they advance through the levels,
creating a type of ‘residual toxicity’ which affects them (and the health of their career). WORKPLACE
AND CULTURAL
For many, whose careers have already ascended to this level, and those closely
IMPEDIMENTS WEIGH
approaching it, these previous influences are difficult to counter. Nonetheless,
the signposts in this report give companies, and individuals, specific guidance
HEAVILY ON THE
on how many of these imbalances might be addressed in the stages prior CAREERS OF WOMEN
to Function Leader. AS THEY ADVANCE,
CREATING A TYPE OF
‘RESIDUAL TOXICITY’
WHICH AFFECTS THEM
Attaining and Performing the Role
of Function Leader (VP/SVP)
In attaining the position of a Function Leader, women are likely to find themselves
just one-third of the workforce (as reported by companies). The greatest proportion of
women are joining SMEs at this level, with Start-ups also considerably more popular
relative to previous levels. This talent is seemingly shifting in greatest numbers from WHEN CHANGING
the Large Companies, with only one in three women from Mid-Level Leader working
COMPANIES, WOMEN
in Large Companies at the Function Leader Level. In changing companies, women
STATE THAT THE
state that the culture was the reason to leave their last company, while men declare that
their ‘path to promotion was blocked’ or ‘they saw better opportunity elsewhere’ as
CULTURE WAS THE
their motivation. REASON TO LEAVE
THEIR LAST COMPANY
The women at the Function Leader are showing lots of confidence and ambition,
and represent a cohort of talent which companies can highly engage. They express
a higher level of aspiration to find a C-suite and board position than at any other level
below and more than their male counterparts. They complement this ambition with
a far higher confidence in their leadership skills – highest of all women, and higher
than men of the equivalent grade.

But how did women come to find this Function Leader job? Relative to men,
their overall approach was much more in line with how they had previously
secured employment. Just 21% of women found their Function Leader job
through a recruitment firm (headhunters + recruitment agency), whereas NEARLY TWICE AS
nearly twice as many men secured a job this way (39%). This suggests that
MANY MEN THAN
either men are preferring this route, or maybe recruiters prefer male candidates.
WOMEN AT FUNCTION
Relative to previous job searches performed at levels below, at the Function Leader
LEADER FOUND THEIR
women were paying the greatest attention to an opportunity for ‘making a difference’ JOB THROUGH A
and the company’s ‘management and leadership’. When reporting reasons for joining RECRUITMENT FIRM
their last employer, women ranked role and responsibilities highest, followed by the
science and technology. Flexible working, culture, and management and leadership team
ranked higher in women than men at this level. Additionally, women at this level
seemingly had no interest in the compensation, which is in contrast with women
at lower levels and men at this level. More Function Leader women reported taking
a role of less seniority than at any other level, and not one man reported accepting
less seniority at Function Leader.
Annex / 118

Once in the position, women have an opportunity to acquire or master necessary


skills before they can move to the next position. Interestingly, they have a far greater
period of time in which to do this, relative to men, as one-third (33%) of them will
stay more than three years in this level of role, whereas only 6% of men will reach ONE-THIRD OF
this tenure. It seems women’s co-workers as well as the stability of the company are
FUNCTION LEADER
factors which drive them to stay.
WOMEN STAY IN THE
As they embed themselves in the role, Function Leader women find that their
ROLE FOR MORE THAN
work travel commitments increased dramatically relative to roles they have held 3 YEARS, COMPARED
in the past, and their level of satisfaction with this condition of their employment TO JUST 6% OF MEN
decreases drastically, below that expressed by men. This is despite their travel
being in line with men at this level.

Given that the occurrence of job evaluations has been relatively constant since
Contributor level, having reached Function Leader level, women would now see
no reason why their job performance will be assessed differently. In reality, Function
Leader women report the lowest level of fair job evaluations across any level, and
the number of women reporting formal job evaluations drops from all previous levels.
Relative to men, women at Function Leader level now report the widest gap in terms
of presence of formal job evaluations. Although women at this level are asking for
promotion as frequently as they have previously, their male colleagues are not doing
so – perhaps indicating that men might be finding alternative ways to promotion.

Interestingly, for the first time in their careers, men at this level are now reporting
in greater proportions than women, that their skills and experience have been stretched.
While Function Leader women, for the first and only time, report a decline in the
stretch of their skills and experience.

Function leader women state less interest in pay and rewards relative to their male
colleagues. Perhaps this may be affecting the negotiation stance, as in attaining the role,
the majority of men (59%) gained a pay rise of greater than 6%, where a minority of
women achieved the same (45%). Since entering work, the Function Leader woman IN ATTAINING THE
has maintained a constant emphasis on basic salary as a preferred compensation
FUNCTION LEADER
incentive, but at this level it peaks (69%). Their male colleagues however, move
ROLE, THE MAJORITY
far more sharply towards a package weighted with stock options and stock awards
at this level, while basic salary is sought after only by 47%.
OF MEN (59%) GAINED
A PAY RISE OF GREATER
Relative to women at other levels, the greatest number of women at the Function THAN 6%, WHERE A
Leader level report their companies as ‘Not Diverse or Inclusive’. This is borne out by MINORITY OF WOMEN
them stating, in greater numbers, that most women are below them in the organization ACHIEVED THE
and that they also saw the least number of women ‘at the same level’. SAME (45%)

The disadvantage that Function Leader women are experiencing is causing them
to question their future in Life Sciences, with one in ten stating they may leave the
sector inside of three years, whereas not a single man stated this. Similarly, women
(17%) believe their career ambitions can be better realized in another industry, versus
one-third as many men report this (6%). This points to a significant effect which could
facilitate the loss of talent from the sector.

So how do we ensure that women at the Function Leader level remain engaged and FUNCTION LEADER
continue their progress to the C-suite? Function Leader women clearly still possess
WOMEN BELIEVE THEIR
the ambition, so fulfilling it is important. The use of sponsorship and mentorship
CAREER AMBITIONS CAN
programs is a crucial component of engagement and career development, however
Function Leader women report access to the mentorship/sponsorship at the lowest
BE BETTER REALIZED IN
level. At the next level, we see C-suite women reporting the highest level of these ANOTHER INDUSTRY
programs over their recent career, implying this has had some effect on their
119 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

progression to this level. C-suite women also report the highest utilization of their
network to find employment at that level, indicating effective approaches to all the
women reaching for this level.

For women at the Function Leader level to continue progressing, multiple solutions
need to be applied which begin to redress the imbalanced system set out in this excerpt.
Our analysis quite clearly shows that women at this critical level of leadership, which
feeds the C-suite, are experiencing the workplace in a way which is different to women
at other levels, and different to men at the same level. It is important to recognize
that women are competing for the opportunity not only with each other but also
with men, so understanding differences outlined in this section contributes to their
competitiveness. Similarly, men are exhibiting a highly-adapted way of operating
at this specific level, which is perhaps conscious on their part, or the system favoring
them somehow. Finally, companies must recognize the discrepancies in the talent
system which are causing these effects to influence the progression of talent of both
genders. At the Function Leader level alone, we see significant opportunities to improve
the recruitment, retention, and cultivation of talented next-generation women leaders.

Function Leaders in Numbers

1. As reported by companies, women make up 29% 7. Compared to C-level women, Function Leader
of their workforce at the Function Leader Level, women underutilize professional networks when
while men make up 71%. [Fig. 1] searching for a position (48% at Function Leader
vs 59% at C-level). [Fig. 9]
2. The largest proportion of Function Leader
women and men work in SMEs (45.5% and 8. When considering joining a company, Function
72.2% respectively). This is the greatest Leader women report putting greater importance
proportion of individuals working in SMEs on making a difference (+16%) and management
across all employment levels. [Fig. i] and leadership (+16%) than the women at the
level below. [Fig. 11]
3. The smallest proportion of Function Leader
women work in Large Companies (21.1%) while 9. At Function Leader level, the role and
Function Leader men are the least likely to be responsibilities is the number one reason why
employed by Start-ups (11%). [Fig. i] women joined their company (46%). This
is the highest score for this reason across all
4. More Function Leader women than men express levels. Compensation was ranked the lowest
aspiration to serve in Executive Management with 0%. [Fig. 12]
(C-suite) (84% women vs 77% men) and plan to
join a company board (59% women v 53% men). 10. At Function Leader level, more women than
[Fig. 2] men joined their companies driven by role and
responsibility, flexible working, culture, and the profile
5. Function Leader women have taken more (and of the executive leadership/ board. [Fig. 12]
longer) career breaks than men (33% women
and 22% men). [Fig.7] 11. 25% of women and only 13% of men at Function
Leader level consider the recruitment process in
6. Women at Function Leader level are less their companies to be biased. [Fig. 15]
likely to use recruitment firms (headhunters
+ recruitment agencies) to search for a new 12. 33% of women at Function Leader level have
position (21% women vs 39% men). [Fig. 9] held their role for more than three years, while
only 5.6% of men have. [Fig. 18]
Annex / 120

13. When considering continuing working for the 21. While women maintain a steady focus on basic
current company, Function Leader women report salary across most levels, at Function Leader
making a difference (58%), and co-workers (55%) as level companies drastically change their
the top two factors. At this level, the importance compensation mix to reduce this financial
of organizational stability increased by 19% incentive (20.51%). [Fig. 35]
(to 39%). [Fig. 20]
22. Women at Function Leader level were less
14. Travel commitments of Function Leader women likely to secure a >6% pay rise when they
increases substantially relative to women at lower assumed the role than men (45% women
levels (+22.1%), while satisfaction related to and 59% men). [Fig. 36]
travel drops (-18%). [Fig. 23, 24]
23. The greatest proportion of women at Function
15. At this level, men and women Function leaders Leader level see their companies as not diverse or
report similar annual travel commitments (43.8% inclusive (10%, and increase by 4.2% compared
men vs 40.7% women travel over 25% of annual to level below). [Fig. 40]
time). [Fig. 23]
24. Function Leader women report, in the
16. The largest disparity in receiving a formal greatest number across all levels, that
evaluation exists between women and men at the within their organization they see a majority
Function Leader level (88% of men report formal of women working in levels below them (84%).
evaluation vs 75% of women. [Fig. 26] Also, the smallest proportion of women at
this level saw women working at the same
17. At this level, the lowest proportion of women level (6.5%). [Fig. 41]
across all levels feel their job is fairly evaluated
(59%). [Fig. 27] 25. Mentorship/sponsorship is available to
Functional Leader women in the lowest levels
18. Significantly more women than men ask from all stages of their career (29%) and less
frequently for promotion at the Function Level than men at this level (38%).
(39% of women and 13% of men). [Fig. 29]
26. A greater proportion of men than women at
19. Women for the first and only time report a Function Leader leave their employers because
decline in the stretch of their skills/experience. of better opportunities elsewhere (31% men vs 19%
(55% vs 69% at Mid-Level). On the other hand, women) and because the path to promotion was
for the first time in their careers, men report restricted (19% men vs 10% women).
a greater level of skills/experience stretch than
women (69%). [Fig. 32] 27. Relative to other levels, more Function Leader
women reported culture (19% women vs 12.5%
20. Basic salary is the preferred financial incentive men) as the reason why they left their companies.
of Function Leader women, with the greatest
proportion of women across all levels (69%) 28. No men at Function Leader level reported that
favoring this option. Men at this level favor basic their current role is of lower seniority than the
salary only in 47%, and their focus shifts rapidly previous (the lowest value across the employment
to stock options and stock awards (41% men vs levels), while 13% of Function Leader women
22% women). [Fig. 34] report taking the less senior role (more than
at any other level). [Fig. 51]
121 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Annex 2. The 3N v 3Y Group –


Opposite Sides of the
Diversity Spectrum

Previous research conducted by Liftstream showed


a very strong relationship between the gender diversity
of the board and the way in which a diverse and inclusive
culture was introduced through the rest of the company.
The same, or similar, is true of the management.
The research6 also showed that most biotechnology
companies in Massachusetts and California had all-male
boards, thereby giving us an opportunity to show a clear
effect on the recruitment of women.

In section 4.5 of this report, we first looked at the above-mentioned issue


and referenced two groups of study participants who we categorized
as the 3N and 3Y group.

• Those who most oppose the lack of diversity (referred hereafter


as 3N as they answered ‘NO’ to all 3 questions below)

• Those who least oppose the lack of diversity (referred hereafter


as 3Y as they answered ‘YES’ to all 3 questions below)

These groups were segregated and classified on them answering ‘YES’ or ‘NO’
to three questions:

• Would you join a company with an all-male board?


• Would you join a company with an all-male management team?
• Would you join a company if they had an all-male interview team?

These three questions were used to determine women’s views on the importance
of gender diversity. Resulting from the research conducted for this report, our view is
that depending on the type of diversity, equality, inclusion, bias and cultural experiences
women have had, they can be placed on a spectrum of how positively or negatively they
view these elements. Our analysis of the 3Y and 3N groups enables us to place them
on opposite sides of the spectrum.

6  French A., Simpson K., Diversifying the Outlook: The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership (Liftstream, London, 2014)
Annex / 122

Using these three questions we can show how the action to diversify the board,
management and company could directly impact the acquisition of talented women.
Uncovering the data of these respective groups, 3Y and 3N, we bring attention to
the different attitudes that are held among subsets of women in the pipeline. Linking
these attitudes with the experiences and cultural influences that might have caused
them to answer the three questions in this way offers valuable insight to companies
wishing to compete for talent from across the entire pool of human capital.

Where Do the 3Y and 3N Groups Work?

The short answer is – everywhere. These women are present at all levels and in all
work environments. In terms of the study, the data points to the 3N group being more
present in large organizations, global organizations, and pharma companies. The 3Y
group seems to be more present in biotech and Start-ups.

Figure 65

Work in Global Organization


3N 56.9%

3Y 45.3%

Men 48.6%

Work in Biotech
3N 44.4%

3Y 50.7%

Men 56.4%

Work in Pharma
3N 45.8%

3Y 29.6%

Men 20.5%

Work in Large Company


3N 65.3%

3Y 57.1%

Men 53.2%

Work in Start-up
3N 12.5%

3Y 18.7%

Men 15%
123 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Women in both groups are represented at all levels, although at the C-suite we see
a greater proportion of 3N women, (12.5% vs. 7%), perhaps indicating that the
3N women are more conscious of their direct peer-level colleagues at the C-suite
level and board.

One contributing factor for a greater proportion of women from Large Companies
answering 3N would be that they are more greatly exposed to diversity and inclusion
programs. Consequently, they are far more conscious of the issues and this influences
the way they view future employment situations.

Figure 66

Did not take any career breaks


3N 50%

3Y 67%

Men 72.4%

Made a request for flexible working in the past 5 years


3N 56.9%

3Y 43.3%

Men 31.9%

Have children
3N 59.7%

3Y 48%

Men 60%

A greater proportion of women answering 3N had children, had taken career breaks
(50%), and had made flexible working requests in the past five years. This begins to create
a distinction between the two groups. It implies that the 3N group might be viewing the
level of diversity at the top of the company, or involved in their interview, as an indicator
of the culture and how accommodating the company might be to their needs.

What can also be seen from this data is how the 3N women and men differ. Despite
both showing 60% with children, half of the women had taken a career break, whereas
27.66% of men had, proving gender difference.

The 3N group, once recruited, seemingly show a greater sense of loyalty to


their employer. Almost twice the proportion of 3N than 3Y report working in their
current role for more than five years. What is driving this loyalty is unclear, perhaps
their personal circumstances demand stability, or because many more of them work ALMOST TWICE THE
in Large Companies where the scope of responsibilities can be enhanced.
PROPORTION OF 3N
THAN 3Y REPORT
More women from the 3N group have sought out diverse teams to work with, closer
to men in this regard. This shows us that groups of women hold different views on the
WORKING IN THEIR
relative importance of diverse teams and that their selection of opportunities could CURRENT ROLE FOR
be driven by this factor. MORE THAN FIVE YEARS
Annex / 124

Both groups of women saw ‘women employed evenly throughout their organization’
at a level much lower than men, pointing out that women are clearly more conscious
of the gender distribution than men. However, the 3N group once again reported
this as at the lowest level, adding to their sense of gender inequality.

Figure 67

Held this position for more than 5 years


3N 27.8%

3Y 14.6%

Men 19.2%

Sought out teams of diverse experience to work with


3N 76.1%

3Y 64.4%

Men 80.6%

See women employed evenly throughout their organization


3N 21.1%

3Y 26.7%

Men 51.2%

What Are the Work Environment Experiences


of Women from 3Y and 3N Groups?

It is crucial that we examine as many of the study measurements as possible


to see how these respective groups perceive and experience their work environment
and analyze what could be driving their decision-making.

A person’s judgment about the relative fairness of the recruitment process inside of their
current employer is perhaps a good indicator of how they assess the overall equality of the
company. In the 3N cohort, a remarkable one-third of participants felt their employer’s
recruitment process was biased. This was greater than the 3Y group, and that of men. IN THE 3N COHORT,
A REMARKABLE ONE-
This only attends to the inflow of talent from external markets of course. What is also
THIRD OF PARTICIPANTS
important to understand is how these groups differed in their perception of their own
performance review. Interestingly, we found that both 3N and 3Y were equal in receipt
FELT THEIR EMPLOYER’S
of formal evaluations, reporting them only slightly less than men. RECRUITMENT PROCESS
WAS BIASED
Regarding a series of highly important measures related to performance evaluation,
relative compensation, and promotion opportunities, the 3N group consistently report
being disadvantaged when compared to both the 3Y group and men. This reinforces
the perspective that 3N women see their employers exhibiting bias in their treatment of
external applicants, and that they themselves are being treated unfairly in the evaluation
of their performance.
125 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Figure 68

View the recruitment process in their company as biased


3N 32.4%

3Y 23.2%

Men 12.8%

Have a formal performance review or evaluation process in place


in their organization
3N 88.9%

3Y 88.3%

Men 90.7%

View the performance review or evaluation process in their


company as biased
3N 44.8%

3Y 28.3%

Men 19.1%

Do not believe their job performance is fairly evaluated


3N 41.4%

3Y 27.2%

Men 19.5%

Do not believe they are fairly compensated


3N 45.7%

3Y 37%

Men 26.2%

Do not consider that the right people are promoted within


their company
3N 60%

3Y 43.3%

Men 29.3%

Received regular recognition for their performance which has


resulted in promotions
3N 42.7%

3Y 47.8%

Men 56.8%
Annex / 126

We also looked at access to formal mentorship /sponsorship programs to see


whether these groups were benefitting equally. The 3N group reported having
less access to programs (42% vs. 48%) and they also reported less that they had a
person who has had a sustained and positive impact on their career (62% vs. 69%).
More of the 3Y women reported having male mentors/sponsors, perhaps signaling
that they’re learning more about how to develop from a male perspective.

What is interesting though is that twice as many 3N women cited mentorship/


sponsorship as important for advancing their career to the next stage. This leads
us to deduce that these 3N women are not exposed to mentorship and sponsorship
to the same extent, but place much greater significance on this as a means by which
to advance. Maybe they identify the positive impact it is having on their peers.

We needed to appraise the way these two groups, along with men, viewed their
career status. Therefore, we assessed a range of markers which might indicate
how these individuals were viewing their career.

Figure 69

Whenever tried, have managed to find a new job that is at a more senior level
3N 55.7%

3Y 61.1%

Men 64.5%

If they were to consider changing the job, they are in a good position to secure a more
senior position
3N 63.4%

3Y 71.5%

Men 70.4%

Their career has progressed quicker than their peers’


3N 36.2%

3Y 51.9%

Men 55.7%

Consider their career to be on track


3N 59.4%

3Y 82%

Men 83.7%

Their learning and development opportunities have been constant


3N 47.8%

3Y 67.4%

Men 76.8%
127 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

The pace of their career progression has gotten faster


3N 29%

3Y 37.6%

Men 38.4%

Have current or future plans to join a company board


3N 27.8%

3Y 34.6%

Men 34.6%

Aspire to serve in an Executive Management (C-suite) position


3N 43.1%

3Y 50%

Men 59.3%

Rarely asked for a promotion


3N 55.9%

3Y 63.3%

Men 68.3%

Overall, the data in this excerpt shows the impact of the work environment
on the individual. On every measure, the 3N study participants are viewing their
career more negatively, expressing less assurance of their progress, becoming more
reliant on frequently asking for a promotion to advance, rather than possessing
confidence in the evaluation process for progressing, similar to the 3Y group and
men. This is supportive evidence of an accumulative effect from perceived or
experienced bias and exclusion.

To further assess the link between this feeling of inequality expressed by the
3N women, and the diversity of the organizations they work in, we looked at
the statements they supported about the progress of diversity and inclusion in
their company (Figure 70). Here we saw a higher level of skepticism among our
3N group, with a greater proportion stating a much more embryonic diversity
status, or efforts which have been judged unsuccessful.
Annex / 128

Figure 70 / Current diversity status within companies as assessed by the 3N and 3Y groups.

2.9%
Not diverse or inclusive
2.1%

4.4%
Fully inclusive culture
14.3%

10.3%
Actions do not follow words
7.4%

13.2%
Positive utilization of diversity and inclusion
20.6%

17.7%
Beginning to recognize diversity and inclusiveness
9.5%
ess but not successfully
Tries
nclusion in some to encourage diversity and inclusiveness
areas 22.1%
but not successfully 10.1%

Has successfully introduced diversity 29.4%


and inclusion in some areas 36%

3N 3Y

Since women with the 3N group identify an imbalance in terms of opportunities and
do not view their companies as diverse or inclusive, we might expect that eventually,
this may result in leaving their employer. And although we already know three
important factors (3 Questions) they would be influenced by when joining a new
company, we aimed to understand more. Apart from the factors already explored,
what would cause them to leave their employer?

We found that twice as many of the 3N women left their last employer because they
felt unfairly compensated. Twice as many believe their career opportunities are better
outside the life sciences sector, and far fewer of them were sure they’d be working
in the life sciences sector three years from now.

Figure 71

Left the previous employer because were unfairly compensated


3N 7.8%

3Y 3.4%

Men 2.6%

Believe they can better realize their career ambitions in a sector other than Life Sciences
3N 21.5%

3Y 10.2%

Men 13.5%

Think they will be working in the Life Sciences sector 3 years from now
3N 86.4%

3Y 97.3%

Men 94.5%
129 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

In joining a new company, the 3N and 3Y groups ranked the important


factors differently. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 3N group pay more attention
to the management and leadership, but it is also important for the 3Y group.
Flexible working is also a distinct factor for the 3N group.

Table 8 / Factors important to 3Y and 3N women when joining and continuing working for
a company.

3N WOMEN 3Y WOMEN

Joining a company

1. Pay and Rewards 1. Pay and Rewards

2. Management and Leadership 2. Work Environment

3. Work Environment 3. Making a Difference

4. Making a Difference 4. Management and Leadership

5. Flexible Working 5. Career Progression

Staying with a company

1. Work Environment 1. Career Progression

2. Management and Leadership 2. Co-workers

3. Pay and Rewards 3. Work Environment

4. Co-workers 4. Pay and Rewards

5. Making a Difference 5. Management and Leadership

In terms of ranking factors for staying with an employer, the 3N and 3Y groups
expressed some similarities, but the priority given to them was different. Again,
management and leadership remains an important factor among this 3N cohort.

If these 3N women are to be retained, then the evidence suggests they would want
to see their employers increase the participation of women in the workplace. Further
analysis showed that 3N women ranked unconscious bias training and diversified leadership
team as the first and second recommendation respectively. This differed from the
3Y group who suggest flexible working most, but they agreed with the 3N group on
a diversified leadership team, and also on every other factor. The fact that the 3N group
ranks unconscious bias training highest indicates the level to which they feel their
career is subjected to bias and that this is preventing their progression.
Annex / 130

Figure 72 / Actions that 3N and 3Y women would endorse their companies to implement to
improve the participation of women in the workplace.

3N WOMEN

Unconscious bias training 54.8%

Diversified leadership team 52.1%

Flexible working (Time/Location) 43.8%

Improved childcare support 32.9%

Proportional promotion* 31.5%

Diversity metrics which are clearly communicated 26%

Interview training for all employees 19.2%

Gender balanced shortlisting 17.8%

Reduced travel commitments 6.9%

Positive discrimination** 5.5%

Other (please specify) 0%

3Y WOMEN

Flexible working (Time/Location) 59.1%

Diversified leadership team 53.7%

Unconscious bias training 49.8%

Improved childcare support 33%

Proportional promotion* 25.1%

Diversity metrics which are clearly communicated 21.2%

Interview training for all employees 19.2%

Gender balanced shortlisting 15.3%

Reduced travel commitments 6.9%

Positive discrimination** 2%

Other (please specify) 0%

* Proportional promotion (e.g. promoting the same proportion of women across all levels of the organization)
*  Proportional promotion (e.g.
** Positive discrimination promoting
(a practice the same
of favoring proportion of
individuals women
that suffer across all levels of the organization)
discrimination)
** Positive discrimination (a practice of favoring individuals that suffer discrimination)
131 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

Through this section, we have shown the way in which the workplace subjects
women to a level of bias and unfairness which impacts the way they view
themselves, the people around them, and the companies that employ them, now
and into the future. This accumulation of influences, some of which might seem
inconsequential, add up to a big effect. We have shown that a group of women,
because of many process and cultural imbalances, are purposefully steering
away from companies who externally present an all-male board, management,
or interview team when recruiting them. If companies are serious about talent,
then knowing this provides an immediate breakthrough for around 50% of
companies in the market, could prove incredibly valuable.
Annex / 132

Methodology

This study was conducted by MassBio and Liftstream


to examine the unique challenges that the
Massachusetts Life Sciences cluster is facing when
developing a gender diverse pipeline of executive
leaders. In order to create specific recommendations
that would improve participation of women in the
leadership pipeline, we invited both companies and
individual professionals to participate in this study.

The Survey

The study was conducted by survey and delivered via SurveyMonkey. The survey
was designed to examine a multitude of traits related to governance and organization
of Life Sciences companies, as well as traits related to professional development and
career progression of individuals. The survey link was accessible on Liftstream’s website
and was circulated via emails (using internal and external databases of Liftstream
and MassBio) as well as social media including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
The survey link was also shared by biotech associations in the US.

Participation was voluntary and all responses were completely anonymous.


All respondents answered branching questions which directed them to
specific sections with questions for:

• a company
• professional working in the life sciences sector
• an unemployed professional looking for a position
in the life sciences sector

• a professional that left the life sciences sector

Data Set and Analysis

Overall, 998 responders participated in the study. Only those working in Massachusetts
were selected for the analysis (currently working in the life sciences sector [639], those
who are unemployed and looking for work [64], those who have left the sector [20]).
Owing to incomplete responses or incomplete data, we accepted responses from
70 companies.

The data analysis was performed using the SurveyMonkey platform. Statistical
significance was calculated using a standard 95% confidence level (the difference
133 / Opening the Path to a Diverse Future

between two groups has less than a 5% probability of occurring by chance or sampling
error alone). We also reported a difference between studied data sets where differences
in statistics were greater or equal than 5%.

We gained insight into the studied data set by using following methods:

• averaging by gender
• averaging by employment level
• averaging by company size
• averaging by a specific trait

Defining the Employment Levels


and the Company Size
We set up a clear set of criteria for different levels of professional responsibility
so that effective categorization could occur. These were as follows:

• Contributor: An individual performing technical or operational


responsibility independent of supervisory responsibilities.

• Manager (AD, SM, Manager): A person with team leadership


responsibility (line or matrix) who is responsible for directing
the team towards strategic corporate objectives.

• Mid-Level Manager (VP/SD/Director): A person with


considerable experience overseeing teams of different size,
scope, and scale, within the line and/or matrix of a function.

• Function Leader (SVP/VP): A person with responsibility managing


a business unit and/or function and delivering results through the
purposeful and successful direction of human capital.

• C-Level: CEO, Officers, Presidents and Executive Committee of


the Company Reporting directly to the CEO and/or the Board.

• Board Member: Executive and non-executive


member of the board.

Company size was defined by a number of employees:

• Start-up (1–30 employees)


• SME (31–1000)
• Large Company (>1000)
Annex / 134

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the members of MassBio and other companies or individuals
who generously participated in the study. The commitment of those who gave their
time to support this study is greatly appreciated by MassBio and Liftstream.

The support and guidance of the BioPharma Executive Council and the MassBio
Diversity Advisory Committee also deserve special mention and thanks for their
continued support in the development of this report.

MassBio Diversity Advisory Committee:

Batchelder, G.
Caporale, T.
Celniker, A.
Klug, .M.
MacDonald, S.
Mcguire, T.
Morrison, J.
Pomponio, A.
Stanesa, A.
Wilson, C.
Wittenberg, L.
Woit, S.
Hager, S.
Windham-Bannister, S.
Young, C.

Authors:

Stasiak, L. ; Simpson, K.
Liftstream – Executive Recruitment Services – Life Sciences

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not


intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or
entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information,
there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the
date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.
No one should act on such information without appropriate professional
advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

© 2017 Liftstream Limited.


All rights reserved.

Contact Karl Simpson at karl.simpson@liftstream.com for permission


to use copyrighted material included in this report.

The Liftstream name, logo and “knowledge at the heart of leadership”


are registered trademarks or trademarks of Liftstream Limited.

Designed by Soapbox, www.soapbox.co.uk

Publication name: Opening the Path to a Diverse Future


Publication date: September 2017

Please cite this report as: Stasiak L, Simpson K, Opening the Path
to a Diverse Future, Liftstream, 2017

www.liftstream.com